HOLIDAY HEARTACHE: Number of people in need peaks
KINGAROY CTC youth and family services manager Kirsten Firman is used to helping people in need.
What she’s not used to is seeing such a high number of people in need as she said there was at the moment.
While the summer holiday season can be fun, for a lot of South Burnett residents it can add even more pressure when budgets were already tight, or spirits already low.
Ms Firman said it had been a difficult year, possibly the most difficult she had witnessed in the region.
“A lot of people have been doing it tough,” Ms Firman said.
“It’s more people than you would think, especially with the drought.
“Everyone is struggling: the farmers, businesses, and community members.”
CTC was open during the Christmas and new year holiday period and Ms Firman said staff worked hard to try and provide enough food for the people who needed it.
“We do what we can where we can,” she said.
“There’s only so much we can do for those who really need the help.
“Over Christmas we were doing mostly food and that’s only the very edge of the need.”
Thanks to the QPS Food Drive, and the help of the community, Ms Firman said CTC was able to put food on the tables of about 50 families in the South Burnett this Christmas.
“But the thing is we can only help locals if they come forward and ask for help,” she said.
“A lot of people don’t come forward for help because of pride and the internalisation that people think they should be able to deal with their own stuff.
“It’s hard to ask for help.”
Ms Firman said it was particularly hard for farmers to reach out when they needed to.
“The farmers around here are used to being fully independent for their whole lives up until now,” she said.
“If anything, they’re used to helping out others in need.
“But we want them to reach out and ask for help. They need it in the drought.”
Unfortunately, CTC had a rise in domestic violence cases during the festive season.
“This increases because it’s a stressful time of year and there tend to be more fights over money and family,” Ms Firman said.
“Also because people will come home to try and reconcile even if they know it’s not going to work because everyone wants to try and play happy family over the holidays.”
Despite so many people doing it tough, South Burnett residents still managed to donate more food than ever before for the 2019 QPS Food Drive.
“I just want to say a huge thank you to the community,” Ms Firman said.
“It was really great to see everyone wanting to lend a helping hand even if they didn’t have all that much to give.”
Ms Firman said CTC was now calling for donations of school supplies.
“School can be a scary place when you don’t fit in with the rest of the kids,” she said.
“It’s as simple as having the right uniform, school shoes, a backpack, notebooks, and pens or pencils, so we would like to please ask the community to donate anything they have that could be of use.”
For more information about making a donation, contact Kingaroy CTC on 4162 9000.