Reaching out for help
ANGELA Waugh is one of the nearly 40% of Tweed residents who are battling to make ends meet.
The 40-year-old mother of three children, aged four, six and eight, said her troubles began when she split with her husband a year ago.
The night she left her family home with the children she stayed in a motel, and after that she said she was fortunate enough to receive an apartment in South Tweed from Housing NSW.
"It's really hard," she said. "Sometimes the kids have Weet-Bix for breakfast and for dinner.
"I need to save up for things like rego and we don't drive anywhere to save money.
"The worst time is always Christmas, when you go to everyone else's house and they have so much food."
The op shop volunteer said she makes do by relying on social services through On Track community facilities, and by using charities, such as The Salvation Army, Lifeline and Food Bank, a recently opened charity in Tweed Heads.
She said most people that went through financial hardship should, and do, become familiar with all of Tweed's welfare services.
"We rely on a network big- time," Ms Waugh.
"If anyone finds themself in sudden hardship, don't feel bad, because in the community there are a lot who play a big part in helping other people."
Tweed residents like Ms Waugh are increasingly reaching out for help through charities, according to Repsychlers Op shop and FoodLocker manager Peter Hewitson.
Mr Hewitson said that was why On Track community programs launched the FoodLocker.
"It's like a supermarket where we buy the food at a normal wholesale price and then sell it at low cost to anyone that needs it.
"It's not means-tested because in our environment, when you look at the unemployed, people on concessions, retirees, and those in hardship, it's probably about 95% of the Tweed's population.
"The Tweed is working class and below.
"If you're looking to get more for your dollar, you certainly welcome to shop with us," Mr Hewitson said.