November 3, 2017

Dear Friends,

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing when my staff first told me about Annett and Andrew Grant.

Andrew worked for a large retailer and had a knack for taking underperforming stores and turning them into success stories.

A big meeting at the company’s head office was planned and Andrew thought a long overdue promotion was coming his way.

Instead he was made redundant with a family of seven to feed.

Andrew found work quickly but the household income dropped by $40,000 and the bills kept coming. At times they needed to use a credit card to put food on the table or pay a utility bill.

Andrew then took on a second job which meant he would often work 16-17 hours a day but it still wasn’t enough to get by.

With your help this Christmas I can distribute hampers to families that so desperately need our help.

A generous donation of $30 will make Christmas a day of joy for a family just like the Grants.

As the costs of living increase you won’t find many large families trying to survive on one income but in Andrew and Annett’s world it’s a forced decision. Annett has no option but to home school two of their children as one has a pyrrole disorder and one is on the autism spectrum.

There just isn’t a school nearby that can fulfil their needs but that won’t stop Annett, she’s made of tough stuff and would do anything for her kids.

For a lot of us, Christmas is about getting together with family and friends and being thankful for what you have.

But how can you be thankful if the pantry is empty?

I’m sure you agree that no Australian family should have nothing to eat on Christmas day.

A generous donation of $30 or $50 will go towards our goal of packing 20,000 food hampers this Christmas.

Every hamper we create means a family that can sit together, enjoy a meal and take a break from food insecurity.

The hampers are packed by some amazing volunteers, which keeps our costs low and means we can stretch your donation to deliver maximum impact to families doing it tough.

I’m sure you, like me would see food as a basic human right but for the Grants it was just another bill.

Food had become the lowest priority as they were desperate to keep a roof over their heads.

For Annett there’s it’s clear what support from Foodbank meant to her family.

“We could have lost the house. There just wasn’t enough money for everything and food doesn’t reduce debt and doesn’t keep creditors at bay” – Annett Grant

Try and imagine what it would be like when things are so dire that food is almost considered a luxury.

After being so successful, his redundancy was a shock that Andrew just didn’t see coming.

It was also the trigger for what became a seven-year struggle to get life back on track.

There were days when Annett was frightened to go to the letterbox, knowing that just one more bill could lead them to something they couldn’t bear to consider – losing their home.

It frightens me to think that this could happen to anyone through no fault of their own. A little bad luck is all it takes to have a family in crisis.

There are people living in your street and in your town, that don’t have enough food.

The stigma of asking for help often means that food insecurity can be somewhat hidden in our communities.

While some families want to buy the kids bikes, an Xbox and go on holidays. Some families just need a little help to make Christmas so much brighter.

This Christmas please send a gift of $30, $50 or even $100 to help us give 20,000 families a hamper that will make their Christmas day one to remember.

As a family the Grant’s did everything they could to get by and made every sacrifice imaginable.

At Christmas time, Annett would lay-by presents months in advance in the hope of giving the kids some joy on Christmas morning.

School excursions were missed, birthdays were low key affairs and they haven’t had a holiday together for 16 years.

No matter how hard they scrimped and saved, the ever-increasing cost of living kept taking its toll.

In the end the Grant’s organised a debt agreement as a last resort to fend off bankruptcy.

It meant paying $450 a fortnight to reduce their debt before a single bill was paid or a single bag of groceries are bought.

They did so for 5 years just to get back to zero. The grants didn’t ask for help – they just tightened their belts and worked bloody hard to get their lives back on track.

Annett became a master at meal planning out of necessity. Some cheap mince for example would form the basis of 3-4 meals to feed her family for an entire week. The mince that was last night’s shepherd’s pie was tomorrows spaghetti bolognaise and so on.

The grants didn’t drink, smoke or go out as a family, everything was about keeping their heads above water and keeping their house.

Now – seven years after the redundancy the Grants are debt free, they still need a little help now and then but the future is much brighter.

I don’t know how many people have the mental stamina and determination that Annet and Andrew have.

Ask yourself if you could go through what they have and still be smiling.

I can support the Grant family and thousands of other families just like them, but not without your help.

Please send your gift today and I promise to send you a picture of our amazing volunteers and the hampers ready to go to people just like Andrew and Annett.

Please give as much as you can knowing that every dollar counts and that hunger won’t go away on its own.

Warm regards,

Gerry Andersen
Foodbank NSW & ACT


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