The Food for Families project is an initiative of Uniting Burnside Central Coast and Uniting Church congregations in the Wyong district. This food helps to alleviate pressure around the family budget and allows funds to be used for other items such as rent, children’s school needs and utilities.
Local Uniting Churches collect non-perishable food items and deliver them to Uniting’s Wyong office. Case workers identify families during a home visit that require extra assistance, put together a hamper of food items and deliver it to these families.
Families have reported they are overwhelmed to receive this food and workers make sure they let families know that the Uniting Church provides this support. Positive feedback from families expressing their thanks is common.
A case worker has regularly accessed groceries over the last 4-6 weeks for a single mum with two boys who is struggling with her budget after a recent break up from her partner. The partner had a gambling addiction and this caused significant financial stress on the family (numerous debts – including rent arrears). The grocery donations have alleviated day-to-day anxiety and guilt this mother feels in not being able to feed her boys as she makes extra rental payments to keep her family housed. This family is very appreciative of the grocery donations from the Church.
Assistance has also been provided to a family consisting of a mother with a 1 year old son, a 5 year old daughter in kindergarten and a 16 year old with an intellectual disability, ADHS & ODD. On first contact with the family they had received a termination notice for rent arrears and had a number of debts due to payments for the funerals of the mother’s parent’s. The family were in a dire financial situation. Since working with this family the rent arrears have been paid and the case worker is working towards improving the family’s financial situation. Providing groceries to this family has assisted in relieving some of the financial stress. The mother has been extremely grateful and thankful. At times she has been overwhelmed at the generosity provided.
Providing groceries is a very practical way of showing people compassion and care. Being able to provide families with groceries gives Uniting Burnside workers something very tangible to offer to families in need that the government does not provide. It assists to improve on-going engagement and credibility while working with families on some difficult issues.
“We take non-perishable healthy food like long life milk, canned goods and grocery basics like toilet paper. We like food that can be made up to feed a whole family like pasta and sauce. Recipients of the packages are tremendously grateful,” says Cheryl Amey, who is the Community Programs Lead for Uniting Burnside in Wyong. “In winter, this is particularly helpful and vital, as it assists families prioritise paying bills like rent, electricity and gas and not have to think about basic groceries.”
Uniting Burnside Central Coast wants to thank all the Uniting Church congregations that contribute to support these vulnerable and disadvantaged families. Working together like this offers families practical hope for today and the future.
How you can help
If your congregation would like to get involved with Uniting Burnside in Wyong, donations of non-perishable food and basic grocery items such as toilet paper are very welcome. For more information about what to give and where to drop it off, call (02) 4305 6200.