Wagga families are struggling to cope with this year’s nasty winter chill and are reaching out for help from charitable organisations.
Wagga and towns across the Riverina have experienced record low temperatures in the past week during what was already a chilly winter.
Anglicare Riverina general manager Brad Addison said Wagga families are struggling to keep their heads above water.
“We always see an increase in the colder months,” he said.
Mr Addison said that there has been an increase of people who have visited the community centre in Ashmont over the past six weeks.
Residents are struggling to pay for bills after using most of their income on rent.
Mr Addison said higher winter electricity and gas bills are tripping up families who find themselves requiring financial assistance to pay for bills, food or necessary items.
“Affordable housing is an issue so they are coming to somewhere like Anglicare to help pay the bills and put food on the table,” he said.
“They are paying a high per cent of their income to rent and there’s not a lot left for bills.
“But during the cold conditions, people are at home and power bills are increasing.”
Anglicare Riverina’s pantry appeal just ended but Mr Addison said the organisation is always looking for donations of non-perishable food, nappies, baby formula, toiletries and feminine hygiene products.
“When people are thinking about items to donate, it’s about thinking outside of the box,” he said.
Anglicare Riverina also offers the services of a financial counsellor and no interest loans to families on low incomes to help them in emergency situations.
“We want to help people to get to a position that they don’t need that assistance,” he said.
St Vincent de Paul Wagga regional manager Trevor Urquhart said there has been an increase in demand for bedding and blankets.
“We still have a consistent demand,” he said.
“Winter can be a hard time for families, this winter has been really tough.
“We’d love to see a resurgent of people getting back on their feet but it’s hard for families.”
Mr Urquhart said the Wagga office accepts about 88 interviews or phone calls a week from people looking for help.
Mr Urquhart said donations of winter clothing would be greatly appreciated right now.
People can donate items to Anglicare Riverina’s Ashmont community centre by contacting Kristy Daley on 6937 1555.
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