Seeing the generosity in our community

Seeing the generosity in our community

At Napier Family Centre we frequently see the generosity and compassion of the people of our Hawke’s Bay community.

We are given gifts of knitted cot blankets and baby clothes that are quickly distributed to mothers whose babies will benefit from the warmth; we are given apples by orchardists; bread by a local supermarket; tins of food to go with the bread; the recent planting to launch our ‘edible’ forest is another example of gifts. To our supporters and those who donate these helpful goods we thank you. Each year Napier Family Centre services reach over 2500 families; many of our families are going through really hard financial times and these kind gestures can really show that their community has heart.

Sometimes when I am talking about our services in counselling, parenting education, family support and budgeting services it is the question of poverty and financial hardship that is challenged. It seems people can readily see the need for supporting others going through depression or grief or needing help to figure out the parenting journey but, somehow, it is the topic of managing money that strikes a particular hard spot in empathy: “Why can’t people make better choices with their money?”; “Why don’t people go without?”; “Why don’t they grow their own food, use cloth nappies, walk, get a job…” I recall talks by Dr Russell Wills, in his tireless campaign as Children’s Commissioner, about the reality of the effects of child poverty. It can be hard to grasp how our country could not be the haven for children that, for many, is held as a core belief about ‘Godzone’.

Over 1000 clients come through our Budgeting Service each year and we are one of a number of services in the Bay so we know there are real struggles in making ends meet for a family on low income – whether working or receiving a benefit. The low wages and stop-start casual nature of work in our economy is not in step with the high costs of housing or the costs of medical needs, school, power and transport  – any one thing that goes wrong can rapidly bring families down. Indebtedness happens in high waged and low income families where onerous lending contracts cause great damage. Seeking help from a budget advisor is free and without shame. On the contrary there is much courage shown in working to sort through the decisions of the past and the realities of the household budget for the future.

A particularly touching gift we received this month was from a woman who brought in some produce from her garden, being the in-season feijoas, walnuts and pumpkin. The young woman was also here to pick up her food parcel, having worked with a budget advisor earlier in the day.

The services our professionals provide are vital and it is the courage of our clients and the compassion of the community that make the difference.

We thank you for supporting the work of Napier Family Centre – register for Jeans Day May 20th.

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