THE recent cold spell cleaned out Orange charities of blankets and warm clothes and with barely enough left to give to people in need, they called on help from the Orange community.
St Vincent de Paul and Salvation Army staff said social housing in Orange lacked effective insulation and many people had electric heating which was too expensive to run.
Salvation Army major Greg Saunders said generally people moved to Orange, ran their heaters at full capacity and it was not until spring did they realise how expensive it had been.
“They do that the first year but by the second year they’re in trying to get warm clothing and more blankets,” he said.
“They just can’t afford the bills.”
He said demand at the Summer Street Salvation Army Family Store had been high in the last few weeks and he called on people to go through their wardrobes and donate clothing they no longer needed.
Store manager Angeline Shovelle said an appeal about six weeks ago had instigated an increase in donations but that stock had been bought quickly.
“We’ve been asked by our stores in Bathurst and Forbes as well for items so we’ve had to share it around,” she said.
St Vincent de Paul welfare volunteer Derek Dolstra said the charity would prefer to give people blankets and warm clothes rather than assistance to pay power bills.
“Some people were getting bills of $1000 or $1200 in one hit,” he said.
“The heaters in the government housing are no longer economically viable.”
Major Saunders said the charities appreciate donations but people needed to be mindful what could be donated and to donate items during opening hours.
Items left in clothing bins and on the street outside the store tended to be stolen or ruined by the weather.
“With the costs of dumping stuff at the tip being so high, people just dumped stuff at the store,” he said.
“I wouldn’t dump stuff at your house so don’t dump it at the store.”
He reminded people charities could only re-sell items which were not dirty or damaged.
“If you can’t drop it off, give the store a call and we’ll come and pick it up.”