Hampers a lifeline for families
IT would appear times are tougher than some might think, with Lifeline Darling Downs Toowoomba office inundated with calls for help during the Christmas period.
"This is the most demand I've seen in 25 years," Lifeline CEO Derek Tuffield said, as he sorted through a room full of donated hampers destined for needy families.
"A lot of families move into the area but after they pay their rent and other bills, they find they haven't got enough money for food.
"A hamper will hopefully get them through to next week, when they can access Centrelink for payments.
"It's only an emergency step and it's not a week's groceries but it helps."
Mr Tuffield estimated Lifeline Toowoomba had seen 1000 adults and 750 children in the past month, equating to about $25,000 in goods being handed out.
"On December 5 between 9am and 10am, we had 330 calls," he said.
"We couldn't help all these people without the help of the wider community.
"These hampers have been donated by local businesses and individuals and schools.
"I don't know what the demand will be for hampers over the next few days but when we run out of hampers we will move to vouchers."
Lifeline helps individuals, couples and families seeking assistance but all inquiries for food assistance must be made by calling 1300 991 443.
"They have to call the 1300 number and must have their health care card, which we will check off for them.
"We will then set up a time for them to come and pick up their hamper."
Donations of non-perishable goods to help needy families are still being accepted by Lifeline.
Mr Tuffield suggested if anyone was looking for a discreet way to dispose of that unwanted Christmas gift of a shirt or pair of pants that the recipient was unlikely to ever wear, Lifeline had clothes donation bins around the city.