The cost-of-living is biting many families this Christmas and in Dubbo, the need for assistance in the lead-up to the silly season is serious.
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Several local charities say have requested assistance as they help local families and individuals who need support - or just a bit of good will - this Christmas.
Hampers for families
Ian Wray, Castlereagh regional president of St Vincent de Paul Society NSW, said he had been spending $1100 every seven to 10 days ordering food from Woolworths for people coming into the Dubbo branch looking for groceries.
He said many people who came in for help were in private rentals and struggling because their rent was going up, and so too was the cost of food, petrol and utilities.
"People are having a real battle here in Dubbo. We're most concerned with what is going on at the moment," Mr Wray told the Daily Liberal.
Mr Wray has secured 300 Christmas hams and the organisation will be putting together 240 hampers to brighten the Christmases of those in need. This is part of the annual Vinnies Christmas Appeal which also assists people experiencing hardship by providing food relief, clothing, household bills and accommodation.
More volunteers are needed so Vinnies can open its doors Monday through to Friday, instead of only Mondays and Fridays. That way, it could help even more people.
"We're doing a lot of stuff after hours where people ring in and say they're desperate for food. We have a small team working 24/7," Mr Way said.
The community is encouraged to offer donations so more hampers can be made. Drop your items into St Vincent de Paul at 151 Macquarie Street, or donate to the Vinnies Christmas Appeal at www.vinnies.org.au
The Salvation Army Dubbo local core officer, David Sutcliffe, said there is "such a significant need right across our community this year".
"We're seeing a lot of people, families, individuals, and small business owners who are really struggling at the moment with the cost of living, interest rates, inflation ... it's really hitting hard for a lot of people right across our community," Mr Sutcliffe told the Daily Liberal.
"We're seeing a general increase in demand for all our services at the moment."
For parents who are struggling to make ends meet, the Salvos is hosting its annual Christmas Toy Drive Appeal. Toys and food dropped into the local outlet at 110 Gipps Street, Dubbo will be distributed to local families "who would be going without or struggling to provide for their families at Christmas time".
Toys for children of all ages will be accepted, and there is a particular need for presents for children aged 10 to 13 years.
Mr Sutcliffe encouraged anyone who is struggling, including individuals and families, regardless of whether they work or even own a business, to "speak out early".
"As soon as they start to feel they're struggling ... reach out early, to us or any of the other organisations in town, because the second they reach out, they can lessen the burden," Mr Sutcliffe said.
She was aware of young families who were trying to pay off mortgages and were "not coping", coming into the pantry, and appealed to the community to donate.
"I have asked my church if anyone has leftover food in their gardens - if people grow food and it goes to waste in their garden to please bring it in," Ms Krause told the Daily Liberal.
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The pantry is run by the local Seventh Day Adventist Church, and is held every two weeks at 151 Cobra Street, Dubbo. Visitors can fill up a bag of pantry staples and fresh produce for $10.
"If we can provide some groceries a bit cheaper than in the shops then they can use that money for something else," Ms Krause said.
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