Families like David’s are facing a Christmas like no other. David lost his job as soon as COVID hit. He is the primary earner in the family, and the sudden loss of income put him, his wife Kate, and their three teenage daughters, in a situation they’d never faced before.
First, they stopped buying non-essentials, like clothes for Jennifer, Chloe, and Lauren. But as the savings ran out, just covering the basics each week, like rent and food, became a struggle. With the economy getting worse and more people out of work, there weren’t many jobs available. The bills were piling up and there was no solution in sight. The stress was becoming unbearable.
That’s when David did something he never thought he’d have to do in his life. He picked up the phone and called Vinnies for help.
"COVID hit and I lost my job within days. 100% of my income just gone, like that overnight. It was gut-wrenching... A friend suggested I get in touch with Vinnies but it wasn't easy to make the call. I'm 38 and it was the first time I've ever got help from anywhere."
David isn’t the only person who’s had to reach out to us for the first time this year. We all know someone who’s lost their job, had their hours reduced, or lost business because of COVID. The pandemic and resulting economic downturn has sent unemployment levels skyrocketing to levels we haven’t seen since World War II. Lots of people are scraping by on JobSeeker and JobKeeper payments, but when those programs end, where will that leave them?
This time last year, David was financially stable. Now he’s not sure how they’re going to get through the next few months. For families whose budgets are already stretched thinly, the holiday season can push them to breaking point. What should be a time of joy and celebration is instead a source of anxiety and stress.
“Christmas is coming and I’m starting to panic again because this is the longest I’ve ever been out of work. I don’t want to scare the girls but I am worried what Christmas Day will be like in our house this year. They need a bit of joy after the year they’ve had. We all do.”
This Christmas, you can bring much-needed relief and hope to families like David’s. You can help put food on the table, help pay the bills and the rent, and give struggling families some breathing room – room to regroup and figure out what’s next, room to stop worrying for a moment and enjoy Christmas with their family.
This year has pushed many Australians to their limit. You can help take the pressure off families who are reaching breaking point.