Serving up a brighter Christmas

Sandra is a full-time carer to her granddaughters. Pic credit: Georgia Verrells Photography

CHRISTMAS is often referred to as the “festive season”, but a growing number of hard-pressed grandparents are finding it difficult to celebrate.

Sandra has become what some label a “granny nanny”, where she has assumed full-time care of her grandchildren.

It’s a role the 65-year-old cherishes, but relying on her Newstart Allowance makes it difficult to put food on the table for her two young granddaughters.

In a bid to help people such as Sandra, Uniting Vic.Tas is once again staging its Food for Families appeal, hoping to collect 70 tonnes of non-perishable food and household essentials – almost twice what was collected last year.

Uniting Vic.Tas CEO Paul Linossier said the 40 tonnes of food collected last year wasn’t enough to meet the growing demand.

“The number of people accessing our emergency relief services across Victoria and Tasmania continues to grow each year,” he said.

“Our fear is that the rising cost of living will force increasing numbers of families into severe financial hardship and homelessness in 2019.”

Paul said many families will be forced to decide between putting food on the table, buying gifts for their children or paying bills this Christmas.

“Christmas is supposed to be a wonderful time of year, but for families experiencing illness, violence, homelessness or living in crisis, it can be the most difficult time of all,” he said.

“When you’re struggling for money, food is often the first thing to go. We want to help every person that reaches out, but we can’t do it alone – we are very reliant on strong community support to ensure assistance to people in need.”

For Sandra and her two granddaughters, Food for Families donations will mean a brighter Christmas.For Sandra and her two granddaughters, Food for Families donations will mean a brighter Christmas.

“It means the world to the girls and I. I really don’t know where I’d be without Uniting,” Sandra said.

“It’s certainly hard raising two young girls on a Newstart Allowance – most of that is spent on basic living expenses.”

Last year, Food for Families helped Sandra put a hot Christmas Day meal on the table and helped her save a small amount to buy gift s for her granddaughters.

“Thanks to the support, I could give the girls a proper Christmas,” she said.

To register your support, visit or call 1800 060 543.
You can also support people in need by donating to the Uniting Christmas Share Appeal, buying Christmas cards, or supporting the Target UnitingCare Australia Christmas Appeal, which includes gift giving. Find out more at

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