For less than the price of a cup of coffee you can make a real difference in one Orange resident’s life.
That’s the message of St Vincent de Paul Society’s anti-poverty week, which began on Monday.
Vinnies is calling on coffee and tea lovers to donate the cost of a hot beverage to assist more than 2.5 million people living in poverty around Australia.
Between July and September in Orange, Vinnies staff and volunteers made 750 visits to families, with 555 dependent children needing help.
That help included food parcels and vouchers and assistance to pay electricity and gas bills.
Vinnies stores around the Bathurst Central Council area – which includes Orange and 16 other locations – fund most of that help.
Bathurst Central Council’s president Maurie Ryan said the help was about more than just solving an immediate need.
People can make their way through the day without a coffee, but you can’t make your way through the day without food, shelter or electricity.
“A lot of what we do is a hand-out but along way the way it’s also a hand-up,” Mr Ryan said.
It meant while Vinnies would provide help to keep food on the table they would also provide or help find counselling to remove stresses about how the telephone or electricity bill would be paid.
“We try to steer people in the right direction,” he said.
“Any project or anything that encourages people to think about people who are less well off than themselves is a positive.
“It’s day-to-day help but also encouragement to help themselves.”
Dotted Eight Cafe, run by Craig and Malcolm Honeysett, is one of the city’s cafes which is backing the campaign.
Craig Honeysett said the numbers of people in the city living in poverty were surprising, with the price of a coffee a small price to pay.
“It can make a difference,” Mr Honeysett said.
“Coffee is a luxury, we use it to get through the day or even just for our enjoyment.
“People can make their way through the day without a coffee but you can’t make your way through the day without food, shelter or electricity.”
Anti-Poverty Week ends on Saturday.