Stories of the Mission
Posted on June 14, 2019
This winter we are running our Winter Appeal to help those in need. People like Greg, Judy and Charlie. Each of these people have their own individual story, of why they needed help and what we were able to do for them.
Last winter Greg, who had been employed full-time and enjoyed playing sport, presented to our Family Services team for the first time. Greg had been in an accident in which he suffered three breaks to his collar bone. With no sick leave to rely on he was struggling to pay his fortnightly rent and support his three children whom he cared for each alternate weekend. Although he had applied for Centrelink sickness benefits the processing time meant Greg had no means of support in the interim. With no savings in the bank, Greg came to City Mission seeking food assistance. After meeting with our team leader, we were able to assist Greg with food vouchers to help him buy food for his children.
Judy was in her mid-fifties and came to us feeling overwhelmed at being unable to change her financial situation. Despite efforts to find employment Judy received knock back after knock back. She believed her age was a contributing factor and she had multiple health issues. Judy shared her story with our case worker.
“Newstart is not sufficient to live on yet you’re expected to do this and find work,” she said. “I sold some of my belongings to Cash Converters as I had no other way of paying those larger expenses. You start with one loan and then there’s two and three and before you know it most of your Newstart has been taken just to meet the repayments. “Now I am having to come here and ask for food help at my age.” Trying hard to compose herself as tears flowed, Judy went on to say: “I feel so demoralised needing to ask for help. “I have been involved in fund-raising in the past for the City Mission and now look where I am - seeking help for myself. It is so wrong.”
Our case workers helped Judy understand the dangers associated with high interest loans and was able to offer some assistance with budgeting.
A team member received a call from a grandmother. Her daughter had died in a car accident and her young grandson, Charlie, was in the car when it occurred. He had run to get help for his mother. Charlie became depressed, angry and sad at the circumstances and changes that had occurred in his life. After 5 weekly sessions with Charlie, it was apparent he was suffering from PTSD. A referral was made for him to see a psychologist for further support. Several months later, we received another call from his grandmother, explaining Charlie still wasn’t coping and his behaviour was continuing to deteriorate. His life was in chaos, nothing was helping him. On Charlie’s request, his grandmother brought him back to IO4K. He was so excited to be back and did not stop talking and sharing. Once comfortable, he was also able to recount the horrific events surrounding the trauma of the car accident. It was so pleasing to see that Charlie felt safe to ask questions and share his worries. Over the following weeks he spent time in with IO4K program helping to make things for children in the program. It was evident Charlie was becoming more settled and positive about his life. To help children move through trauma and discover hope for the future all it sometimes takes is a listening ear, laughter and a safe place to build a trusting relationship.