With Christmas 2023 getting scarily close, and more people than ever experiencing financial hardship and emotional distress, Lutheran Care has launched its Christmas Appeal.
The Christmas Appeal is a vital fund-raiser for Lutheran Care’s work with some of the most vulnerable people in our communities. This Christmas, through Emergency Relief, Christmas Hampers, counselling and other services, Lutheran Care will support families and individuals in crisis to feel hope, joy and care, at this special time of year. A donation to our Christmas Appeal will help make this support possible.
Throughout the year and particularly at this time of year, we at Lutheran Care support thousands of people in distress or who have fallen through the cracks. We are there for those who as a result of disadvantage, hardship, insecure housing and other circumstances, are struggling to remain afloat financially, let alone enjoy a Christmas celebration with special foods and gifts. Worries are high. Morale is low.
But it’s not all bad news. This year, the Christmas Appeal shines a light on one particular client – Cathy*. Cathy’s is a true story, although her name has been changed for privacy reasons. After experiencing homelessness and a devastating brain injury, Cathy was struggling to be the parent she wanted to be to her two children. Mental health challenges compounded her physical challenges. She was struggling to keep the children fed, and was unable to cope with the challenging behaviours one of her children was displaying as a result of then-undiagnosed ADHD and autism.
In despair and not knowing where to turn, Cathy and her children stopped leaving their home, withdrawing from education, and the community. In a story somewhat reminiscent of the first Christmas story, this mother desperately needed safety and support, but she kept getting turned away.
“The only service that stepped up to help was Lutheran Care,” Cathy says.
Our team began to work closely with Cathy, supporting her with Emergency Relief and other wraparound services and practical assistance. She was connected with our food pantry and supported to access the healthcare she urgently needed. We worked with her to provide the tools and strategies she needed to improve her confidence and be able to support her children.
We are proud of how Cathy was able to turn her life around. With our support, Cathy has taken steps to improve her health and reconnect with the community. She can laugh again and has hope for the future. And wait until you hear how well her children are going. This Christmas is going to be a special one for this little family, and they have high hopes for a brighter new year.
Lutheran Care’s Chief Executive Officer Rohan Feegrade says Christmas will be difficult for many, given the strain of the rising inflation faced by South Australian families and individuals over the past couple of years.
“This year has been one of the most challenging for families in recent memory, compounded by the rise in prices for essential goods, utilities and facing or at risk of housing insecurity.
“A growing number of people are struggling to feed their children, pay their bills and keep a roof over their heads,” Mr Feegrade says.
“The stresses from the cost of living crisis continues to flare at every corner, and it’s not just about prioritising spending on housing, food and utilities. Our team is seeing and hearing about the impact this has on families – often being the final straw that leads to the breakdown in care taking relationships, and for some, abusive situations.
“These difficulties don’t stop during the holiday season and we know there are many South Australian families who are facing a Christmas without joy and celebrations. The pressure to provide families with special food and Christmas presents creates extra stress for most of us, let alone the most vulnerable in our communities.
“So I ask you to please consider donating to our Christmas Appeal this year, as we support those who are overwhelmed and give them hope for a better future.”
Will you give a little kindness this Christmas?
To find out more about the Lutheran Care Christmas Appeal, please click here.
To make an online donation today, please click here.
*Names and images have been de-identified to protect clients’ privacy.