THE first snow of the season had many people reaching for their cameras and woolly hats but for some the cold snap signalled the beginning of a period of big energy bills and more pressure on the household budget.
For them the onset of winter heralds a period when expenses are hard to cover and some simply go without.
Too often in this generally affluent regional city parents skip meals to ensure their kids are fed and in poorly insulated and heated homes power bills force families to go in search of financial support from organisations like the Salvos and Vinnies.
Orange’s FoodCare is a source of cheap food for some while other charities do what they can in other areas.
Together the various charities of Orange help hundreds of families make ends meet and Orange is certainly not unique. In regional Australia wages are often low and the disadvantaged rely heavily on government and non-government support to get by, just as they do in metropolitan areas.
This Friday the Salvation Army launches its annual Red Shield Appeal with the traditional business luncheon. This year the appeal comes against the backdrop of an avalanche of appalling publicity generated by the royal commission into child abuse.
Despite this there will be generous donations from the business community as well as donations from service clubs and individuals.
But it will be the community response to the city-wide doorknock two weeks later which will reveal whether the shocking acts of abuse by a minority in this and other organisations have tarnished the selfless work of the vast majority.
For the sake of those who do rely on charities like the Salvos every winter we must hope the community sees beyond the criminal acts of a few individuals and continues to support the work of an organisation which has made such a difference in this and other communities.