Samaritans 2015 Winter Appeal

Early Launch in Response to April’s Natural Disaster

Following April’s extreme weather it was with a sense of urgency that Samaritans immediately brought forward the launch of its 2015 Winter Appeal.

Samaritans annual Winter Appeal usually launches in May to coincide with the extra demands and needs in the community during the winter months.

Each month Samaritans provides more than 1,000 families with emergency assistance and relief and we often see a rise in demand in winter months when electricity bills increase and local families struggle.

Due to increasing levels of unemployment and recent changes in government funding of providers of Emergency Relief Services we have, over the last few months, seen double the number of people requiring assistance. This will only increase the need for help during winter.

Emergency Relief Services aim to assist people of the Hunter who are experiencing hardship, with food parcels, financial assistance (such as the payment of household bills or grocery vouchers), advocacy with debtors and no-interest loan schemes.

April’s natural disaster has added significant pressure to those in our community in need and more people have turned to support services like Samaritans.

There are so many wonderful stories of people pitching in and helping their neighbours and friends who were affected by the severe weather – we must never underestimate the actions of being a good Samaritan.

With power off and people left in vulnerable situations, especially those who are elderly or on their own raising their children, it has been heartening to hear the stories of people giving shelter, sharing candles or a warm meal.

We have seen neighbours come together to move trees and assist with the clean-up. This is an important part of the community getting back on its feet after such a horrific event.

The Newcastle and Hunter region communities have always shown a strong spirit of supporting others in times of crisis.

In most regions in which Samaritans works, it is the largest distributor of welfare support for emergency assistance. It is timely to remind the local community that Samaritans has Emergency Relief Centres throughout the region. Whilst our hub is located at Brunker Road, Broadmeadow, there are Emergency Relief Centres in East Maitland, Toronto, Cessnock, the Central Coast and in Taree.

This winter, more than ever, there are many local families in need. A donation to Samaritans this winter can help to keep someone warm, keep food on a family’s table, or keep a vulnerable child safe.

Samaritans is encouraging donations through its website to ensure the 2015 Winter Appeal reaches its target and supports locals in need.

For more information about the 2015 Winter Appeal or to donate visit: www.samaritans.org.au/news_article/winter-appeal-launched-early/