Public dig deep to support at-risk families

  • Hotline help: Martha Dismont (Photograph by Jonathan Bell)

    Hotline help: Martha Dismont (Photograph by Jonathan Bell)


The public have dug deep into their pockets to support Family Centre’s work to help people left in dire straits by the coronavirus shutdown.

Martha Dismont, the charity’s executive director, said demand for assistance had increased because of the Covid-19 pandemic, but “overwhelming” support had helped her staff to cope.

She said: “When these type of conditions set in, there is an immediate desire to help the less fortunate.

“In the past month, we have been contacted by individuals in the community who offered to provide assistance in any way that they could to help families.”

Ms Dismont said people had raised more than $8,000 to help cover the cost of computers and internet services so those in need could take classes from home and to pay for food vouchers.

She explained: “Many families have not had the funds to be set up at home with computers or the internet.

“During this very difficult health challenge, a blessing has become the gift of computers and internet to bring these at-risk families into the 21st century.”

Ms Dismont added that donations to Family Centre were just the “tip of the iceberg”.

She said: “The third sector co-ordinated crisis response team has raised a tremendous amount of funding for charities and families in need.

“From these monies raised, Family Centre has been offered funding for more student laptops and food cards for families.”

Ms Dismont added that Family Centre staff had spent a lot of time on the co-ordination of assistance so it went where it was most needed.

She said: “The goal is to make sure that no family, due to their personal circumstances, is negatively impacted as a result of this pandemic.

“Those families who have been struggling for some time with emotional challenges, financially strapped as a result of debt, lacking necessary skills to secure employment and barely able to get the basics for daily food and shelter are clearly the most at risk.

“These families do not always know how to seek support and thus the importance of having agencies available to reach out to families with needs is clear.”

Ms Dismont said it was important for struggling families to know that there were organisations prepared to help.

She added: “There are many families still struggling who may not be in our service and therefore it remains important for the Government and other entities to encourage families to call the various hotlines for help.

“We are very grateful to the Government for its consideration of the less fortunate and it is particularly gratifying to have the introduction of support for those who have become unemployed.”

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Published Apr 20, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated Apr 20, 2020 at 6:46 am)

Public dig deep to support at-risk families

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