It has been a long winter for a Northern suburbs single mum and her 10-year-old son.
Anna, not her real name, manages most of the time, but finds this time of year to be the most difficult.
When money starts to get tight she turns to Launceston Benevolent Society.
“I’ve been [to the society] twice over winter, but I average a visit every three or four months,” Anna said.
“Heating costs so much and having a wood heater is expensive.”
The trigger for a call or visit to the charity’s chief executive John Stuart is when there is no more food.
“When I haven’t got food for my son, then I call,” she said.
Making that call is only the first step in gaining the support Anna and her son need.
After being attacked at home four years ago Anna lives with anxiety, which has affected her confidence.
“I didn’t want to leave home for a long time [after I was attacked],” she said.
She also cares for her son, who was diagnosed with ADHD four years ago, and receives a carers pension.
The Benevolent Society is the only charity Anna has asked for help, preferring to deal with Mr Stuart and the society volunteers she has come to know.
“[John] checks on me every so often. He’s been so good to me,” she said.
With little family support and only a few close friends, Anna and her son feel like the charity’s volunteers are their extended family – particularly around birthdays and Christmas.
“They help me out with Christmas gifts and birthday presents,” Anna said.
“They are like a bunch of aunts and uncles, and nans and pops. They’re great people.”
Without a car, Anna has to rely on public transport, a lift from friends or taxis to get to Kings Meadows.
“If I can’t get a lift John sometimes comes to me after the shop has shut,” she said.
“It would take me two buses to get there and two back.”
The Examiner readers have donated more than $3 million to the Winter Relief Appeal over 60 years.
Launceston Benevolent Society is one of four charities assisted by the appeal, along with St Vincent de Paul’s, the Salvation Army and City Mission.
The 2018 appeal closes on Friday, with $70,007.37 raised to date, exceeding the $60,000 target.
Donate to the Winter Relief appeal in person at the Fairfax offices at 113 Cimitiere Street, Launceston; by calling (03) 6336 7111; via bank transfer with the BSB of 035822 and account number of 01143537; or via BPAY with the biller number of 49429 and the reference number of 01001606170014435379.
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