Anglicare CQ chief executive Philip Shade and Denison Street store manager Sharon Ferris have noticed more people seeking assistance. As this week is Anti-Poverty Week, they want people to know they are here to help.
Anglicare CQ chief executive Philip Shade and Denison Street store manager Sharon Ferris have noticed more people seeking assistance. As this week is Anti-Poverty Week, they want people to know they are here to help. Megan Lewis

Charities serve the new needy

ON Monday a 39-year-old mother-of-four, on her regular shopping trip, wandered around a Rockhampton clothing store looking for a bargain.

Pulling out different items she was impressed to find a cute swimsuit for her daughter and happily went to the counter to pay.

This may sound like your typical shopping trip, but this woman wasn't walking through a shopping centre browsing at the new clothes - she was at the Anglicare clothing store in Denison Street.

And when it comes to cutting back on costs, this Allenstown woman is not alone.

Yesterday the St Vincent de Paul Society reported a 16% increase in services and sales since the economic downturn.

Anglicare Central Queensland chief executive Philip Shade agreed, saying more people had been coming to the charity for assistance in food, utilities and job interviews in the past 12 months. He compares falling into a financial rut to “like being in a whirlpool”.

“The further you get sucked down the harder it is to get out,” he said.

This week is Anti-Poverty Week, which aims to strengthen public understanding of the causes and consequences of poverty and encourage research and action to address the problems.

The woman, who asked not to be named, said she regularly shopped at Anglicare to cut back on costs.

She said she would rather set aside her money to provide her children with a happy and healthy upbringing.

“I always wondered what I did differently to everyone else to end up like this,” she said.

“The cost of living has definitely gone up and our pay rates just don't match.

“It's getting harder now because the kids are growing up and require more.”

Both the woman and her husband worked full-time.

Mr Shade said the increase in demand was reflected by a new group which traditionally had not needed help, but did now.

“It's a new group who traditionally work and have been living on the edge, but with employment loss, were tipped into crisis,” he said. “There have always been a group of people needing assistance, but now the group is much larger.”

Jo Kowalski, who co-ordinates the Second Chance Ministry food van and clothing store with her husband Chris, said that demand was still high in Rockhampton.

She said the food van provided meals for up to 30 people each night during the week, and up to 40 on a weekend.

Mrs Kowalski said those they served were genuine homeless, as well as people who had a home and paid their bills, but had little money left for food.

The Second Chance Ministry food van can now be found at Stapleton Park, North Rockhampton, having just moved from the south side.

Mr Shade said to coincide with Anti-Poverty Week Anglicare had released a book titled Beyond Economics - families in the forefront.

He said it touched on issues and pressures families in Australia faced in the past 12 months and the global financial crisis impact.

Mr Shade said the Government had to look at long-term strategies to prevent poverty.

“Anglicare says, don't forget the people who need help.

“Some people are embarrassed and don't like to ask for help when they find themselves in a crisis. But we always treat people with respect,” he said.

Poverty in Rockhampton

• St Vincent de Paul Society has reported a 16% increase in sales and services across Queensland in the last 12 months. This is accurately reflected in CQ.

• Anglicare Central Queensland has seen a large increase in the amount of people seeking assistance for food, utilities and job interviews.

• Second Chance Ministry food van feeds up to 30 people each night in Rockhampton and up to 40 people on the weekend.

• This week is Anti-Poverty Week - visitwww.antipovertyweek.org.au . The further you get sucked down the harder it is to get out


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