Macarthur charities urge locals not to forget about the less fortunate

Picture: We Are Community
Picture: We Are Community

Times are tough for families across Macarthur with Centrelink lines spilling outside the building and groceries still a hot commodity, but for vulnerable residents surviving from day-to-day is getting harder and harder.

Local charities are struggling to get access to groceries and supplies in order to support the region's struggling families as coronavirus concerns continue.

Turning Point Camden and We Are Community provide food and services to homeless people, families under financial strain, people with mental health issues and women fleeing domestic violence situations.

We Are Community business development manager Paul Mackin said donations had dropped off by 90 per cent in recent weeks.

"It's tough times for everyone obviously but we are seeing more requests for services and less donations coming in," he said.

"Food security is a huge issue for a lot of people in our community and we are seeing such a shortage in donations coming through."

The Macarthur-based charity offers a night patrol to feed the homeless and a weekly breakfast among other services.

However, Mr Mackin said how they would deliver these services would have to change.

"We will be organising food drop-offs to help people so that we can abide by the self-isolation rules," he said.

"The breakfast is usually a little bit of a community event where people can come together and socialise but we will make it a take away service now.

"We like to provide people with nutritious meals - My Muscle Chef is one of our sponsors and they are providing us with really great meals.

"But more is needed - even if you can just grab an extra can of food or jar of sauce and packet of pasta it could go a long way to help someone in need."

Mr Mackin urged locals to visit the We Are Community Facebook page to find out about their donation drop off points.

"The government's stimulus package isn't going to help everyone," he said.

"I encourage people to remember that people still need support."

Turning Point Camden coordinator Davina Smith said the Camden-based charity had also struggled with donations.

"We understand that people need to look after themselves and there families first but we are in desperate need of food items to support our clients," he said.

"We need tinned meats like salmon, tuna and spam.

"We also need basic pantry items like pasta, cereals, rice, sauces and spreads - the basis of meals.

"We also need toiletries, toilet paper, tissues, shampoo and conditioner."

Ms Smith said the charity had to change the way it operated in light of the new rules surrounding self-isolation.

"We will now be delivering pre-made hampers to our clients rather than having them come into the office," she said.

"We'll also be staying in touch with them with regular calls to check on their health - particularly their mental health during this time.

"We need to keep an eye on people's mental health - particularly people who are facing unemployment.

"I am also worried about families being locked down in domestic violence situations with the added pressure of low to no income.

"We need people to keep donating and support the most vulnerable people in our community."

Ms Smith said the Turning Point website will be set up for online donations for people to keep supporting the charity without having to leave their homes.

"If you have a heart for giving and the ability to support others please consider donating some food," she said.

"Don't lose your heart for helping people - if you are in a position to donate we would really appreciate it."