PAYING the rent and putting food on the table just became a little easier for some Orange residents who will now be able to supplement their budget with FoodCare Orange vouchers.
The $10 vouchers are being distributed via various charities and agencies who will pass them on to their clients in need so they can purchase FoodCare supermarket items at a fraction of the retail cost.
The charities will be charged for the voucher once it’s been redeemed.
FoodCare committee member Anne Hopwood said she is pleased with the response from agencies with Housing Plus, the Lyndon Community, the Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters and Fusion all taking vouchers.
Mrs Hopwood said the vouchers were already in operation at FoodCare in Canberra but this was the first time an Orange charity had tried something like this.
Housing Plus chief operating officer Steve Stanton said the FoodCare vouchers would be given to domestic violence victims and people who were homeless.
“People can call or drop in any time of the day in need of crisis support including shelter and items to get them through days or weeks of crisis,” he said.
“Sometimes people can be forced to decide between two basic human rights in one week - food or shelter,” he said.
“These vouchers might ease the burden in making that choice.”
Mr Stanton said while his organisation kept a supply of food staples on hand at all times, the voucher system allowed people to be more independent and have more say over the food they consume.
He said the introduction of the voucher system also prompted many of the organisations to start working together for the first time.
“Your reach is far greater with collective community partnerships,” he said.
Fusion’s Bev Rankin said giving people the “dignity” of selecting their own food items was important.
She said often people can find themselves without adequate funds to buy food and pay bills through no fault of their own.
She said they may be waiting for their Centrelink payment to come through or they may have recently lost their job.
“You can get stuck, and if you’ve got children it can be tricky,” she said.
Mrs Hopwood said sometimes a broken down car or washing machine can be all it takes to “throw the budget out”.
Lyndon Community case worker Cathy Elward said people who are finished their treatment often need help getting back on their feet.
“For people who are discharged from treatment this will just help them along.”