I’ve been pissing and moaning a bit lately how money is a little tight. Just a little tight but not the end of the world tight. It ebbs and flows for us, depending on my workload, the time of year (not necessarily Christmas) and Anth’s bonuses. In terms of the last one, his promised quite hefty bonus was unpromised which meant we nearly cancelled our most recently holiday. I’m glad we didn’t though.
Lately I’ve been reading about funding cuts to people who really need it. Firstly it was the Federal Parliament bill to place 100,000 single parent families onto the Newstart allowance. This removes an estimated $60 to $100 a fortnight from already struggling families. Please dispense with judgements about single parent families. As per a ‘normal’ family, there is a wide range of what a single parent family looks like.
Then there’s a mum from our school, Becky, who is a teacher working with refugee families in a primary school in Melbourne’s south-east. A few weeks ago, the State Government cut her funding and two weeks ago she was told the school wouldn’t be able to find the money in their own budget to fund her position next year. I wonder what will happen to these most vulnerable of children without someone with the empathy and compassion of Bec to guide them.
A letter in The Age today mentions the loss of funding for the School Focused Youth Service. This is a Uniting Care service supporting marginalised and disadvantaged children, young people and families. According to the Education Minister, Martin Dixon, a new, “targeted, whole of government” strategy to support young people is being developed, but agencies have expressed fear that in the current cost-cutting environment any new scheme will rob schools of the support they need to help troubled children.
‘Whole of government’. Uggghhh. Whatever that means. I just don’t understand why money is taken away from those who need it most when we know that there are squillionaires out there who have enough money to fund accountants to work out how to dodge tax payments and nothing is done about it. Well, perhaps there is and I’m reading the wrong stuff. Perhaps these stories aren’t as sexy as taking that damn cash from those slack-arsed single parents who are lucky to receive anything at all…(there are people who think like this, just read the comments when these stories pop up).
We need to help the most vulnerable and disadvantaged. We just do. Otherwise it’s a perpetual cycle – unless it can be broken.
So, given we’re heading towards Christmas, here’s 5 suggestions to help those less fortunate have a merry Christmas:
- Woolworths have boxes in each store you can donate goods – I bought an extra shampoo and conditioner with my shopping the other day and whacked them in there. Too easy.
- The Salvation Army has a ‘how to help’ section here
- The Smith Family have Joyspreader Gifts here
- Wesley Mission have Food For Families here
- KMart’s Wishing Tree
A few months back I purchased a Giving Bowl from Foundation 18. Here’s my blog post about it from waaayy back in March here. We’ve been a bit slack throwing our spare change into it but as of today it holds $36.05 and I’m donating it to the Salvation Army. Believe me, I’m no saint given the shit I whinge about but next time I moan about white, middle class stuff (like cancelling our holiday!) I will quietly slap my own face.
Do you have any other suggestions to help make someone’s Christmas a little merrier?