Charity stock in crisis

SAINT Vincent de Paul has seen its emergency food costs for Tweed Heads more than double in the past 12 months.

According to St Joseph's Conference president, Graham Murphy, just a year ago the monthly emergency food bill was $3000, but by the end of last year it had reached $5000.

Now, it has jumped to a whopping $6250 per month - an increase of more than 100 per cent on last year.

“It has really skyrocketed,” Mr Murphy said.

He said there were two causes.

“The price of food has gone up, but the major one is more and more people have come in for assistance,” Mr Murphy said.

“We have been getting more and more people coming in, especially in the last few months.”

He said most people that came for help just needed a few days' food to last them until their next pay or Centrelink allowance.

“They are paying rent of between $300 and $350 a week and then there is not much left.”

The organisation is also running out of electricity and Telstra vouchers as people look for any kind of relief they can get from day to day bills.

Mr Murphy said funds are raised through St Vincent de Paul's two local op-shops and luckily, the budget could stretch a bit further.

“I honestly think it is going to get worse, unfortunately,” Mr Murphy said.

The St Joseph's Conference has 17 members who take turns volunteering at the centre, which is open two-hours a day, five days a week.

Mr Murphy says most days would see at least 14 families come through the door.

The charity not only gives out food, but also clothing and it sometimes even pays for emergency accommodation. Budget counselling is also available and Mr Murphy said some people had to be turned away because they hadn't budgeted properly.

He thanked all the workers who donated their time.

“I am very grateful for all our volunteer workers at all the centres,” he said.

To receive help from St Vincent de Paul, Mr Murphy said a Centrelink referral was needed.

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