• Steph Stephens

Annie’s silent struggle

A young mum, Annie (not her real name) came into St John’s Care this week to donate some grocery bags. Annie, a single mum was with her three children who are on school holidays. Our wonderful volunteers worked out that Annie needed some food, so they busied themselves sorting out supplies for her family.

When I spoke to Annie, she disclosed that she had fled from domestic violence and that she was in fear of harm to herself and her children. She had already been in touch with the Domestic Violence Crisis Service and was receiving support from them. Annie works part time to make ends meet, however, any increase in her hours means a decrease in her benefits. She recently lost her job as a waitress because of the pandemic. She is not entitled to Jobkeeper payments as she is employed in a casual position and hadn’t been there for more than 12 months. Annie and her family struggle with such limited money coming in but she understands that everyone is suffering at the moment. She said that she doesn’t normally tell people about her situation but felt comfortable talking about her silent struggle to us. She is not in the family home because of circumstances beyond her control. She said that her ex-partner hides his income so he doesn’t have to pay her money. She lives in a caravan park because the cost of private rental is just too much for her to live in a house. It’s the little things that get her down. Like how is she going to get her car roadworthy and registered? How can she pay for the internet to home school her children? How can she afford to pay for her washing machine to be repaired? Fortunately, I was able to tell Annie about the No-Interest Loans available from Assistance Beyond Crisis. These loans enable people escaping domestic violence to borrow up to $5000 to help towards household, school or motor vehicle costs. It does not help with rent but can assist with those other matters that can keep Annie and her children from slipping further into poverty. We can only hope that she finds the funds to pay back the loan, such is the nature of poverty for families and individuals. Annie was so pleased with the food and help she received from St John’s Care, especially when one of the volunteers found some left over Easter eggs for her children. Kind regards, Steph Stephens SJC Community Worker Items required: Milk, Cup-a -Soup, tinned fruits, Vegemite, pasta sauce.

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