The spirit of Christmas is a beautiful thing.
It’s not even December and already the volunteer roster for The Salvation Army’s Sydney Christmas Luncheon is full. We are a nation that stands by each other – and at Christmas time more than any other time of the year, this is vital.
In my role working as a writer for The Salvation Army, I speak to 100+ real people every year who we support through crisis.
Their stories are sometimes harrowing, always humbling, and a true reflection of what it’s like to experience extreme poverty in our ‘lucky country’.
"The spirit of Christmas is a beautiful thing." Image via iStock[/img_caption]
One woman I spoke with, who relied on the Salvos numerous times to put food on the table when her partner died and left her with two children and a newborn, told me that living on the bread line is like “treading water.”
“You’re trying so hard but you’re going nowhere and your head is only just above the water.”
“Stuck,” is how many others describe the feeling of extreme poverty. “Surviving but not really living,” is how two others referred to it.
Helplessness is very real when you’re too poor to have options. Because up-skilling is simply a pipe-dream to a single mother who doesn't have enough money for food, let alone further education to improve her circumstances.
Without a doubt, every single mother who I speak to who accesses our services for support with groceries, bills, meals or a safe bed for the night, will tell me that they feel like a failure. As a parent myself, it brings tears to my eyes when I imagine not to be able to provide the very basics for my children.