Major charities see increase in donations, but need for services is increasing
19 July 2022 at 5:33 pm
Major charities report Australians are not reducing donations, despite a cost of living crunch, but the need for support services is rising.
Several major charities across Australia tell Pro Bono News they are either seeing an increase in donations or are meeting their targets, but all say demand for services is increasing more than ever.
St Vincent de Paul Society Victoria CEO Julia Cambage said the charity is seeing an uptake in people coming forward for help.
“At St Vincent de Paul Society, we’re definitely seeing an increase in the number of people coming to us for assistance who are being impacted by cost of living pressures. Food is overwhelmingly the biggest request we receive and demand has been steadily increasing, especially across our soup van services,” she said.
“Demand for our soup vans doubled during the pandemic and has continued to increase since. We served 600,000 meals across all eight soup van runs in the last year and the need rose at our Berwick service by 39 per cent in that period.
“We’re also seeing more families and elderly people come forward to access food.”
Cambage said St Vinnies forecasts that in-line with soaring energy bills, need will increase again during October and November.
“We’re seeing an increase in demand from people on disability and aged pensions who are affected by cost of living pressures because they often have additional medical expenses to deal with too,’ Cambage said.
“We’re also seeing the impact on people in regional and urban fringe areas who have been hit by fuel bills.”
She added Victorians who are in the position to help are clearly concerned about the cost of living crisis and are turning to trusted charities with generous support.
“Our two current fundraising campaigns – our Winter Appeal and the CEO Sleepout – have been well-supported by the community, for which we are very grateful,” she pointed out.
“Our CEO Sleepout in Victoria raised more than $1.8 million, surpassing our initial $1.5 million target.
“Funds from these campaigns will help struggling Victorians with food, rent, utility, education and medical bills at a time when they are in desperate need, as well as funding homelessness services and new mobile food pantries.”
Mallee Family Care CEO Teresa Jayet said she is seeing a similar trend.
The childhood family services not for profit which services the Mallee region of NSW and Victoria said there is more demand, especially due to its location.
“In regional communities there is a lot of disadvantage and also a lot of good will. You have to travel a lot of distance to get anywhere so we have many people donating goods and monetary assistance, which has been interesting, especially in these times,” Jayet said.
“Donations have been maintained. There was a little dip at the height of the pandemic. Clothing and grocery donations have been maintained, and economic donations after a slight dip at the height of the pandemic, are at parity to pre-pandemic levels.
“The monetary donations are surprising to be honest with you. With lack of wage growth, CPI, indexation and a considerable cost in living, it just shows you once again the caring nature of Australians.”
The Smith Family also told Pro Bono News it is meeting its financial targets.
Head of philanthropy and partnerships at Médecins Sans Frontières Australia and Médecins Sans Frontières New Zealand (MSF) Ruth Molloy acknowledges Australia’s concern over the Ukraine conflict has given their donations a boost.
“In the first half of the year we were 3.5 per cent above our forecast, this is in part due to the tremendous compassion and generosity people have demonstrated in supporting our emergency response in Ukraine,” she said.
“There are many challenges on the horizon, the more the conflict is protracted, the less it will be front-of-mind.
“Our donors’ ongoing support has helped ensure we can continue providing emergency medical care to people in over 70 countries.”
OzHarvest spokesperson Fiona Nearn said access to its services increased by 30 per cent over the past six months.
“So many new people are seeking help, with 30 per cent of those accessing [charities we support] needing food relief for the first time in their lives.”