A fund that helps women experiencing family violence or abuse with unexpected expenses has virtually run dry.
As a result, Hestia Women’s Refuge is appealing for donations from the local community to give its Helping Hands fund a boost, so that it can continue to help families at a time when demand and costs are soaring.
Operations coordinator Marlene Walker says she realises more people than ever are struggling to make ends meet at the moment, but Helping Hands is an important safety net for Hestia clients that many people might not know about.
“Any unexpected donations we get in go to this fund, which is used for anything we can’t get money for from elsewhere,” she says. “But we’ve gone through that fund.
“We have a very supportive community that provides plenty of donations of goods to our op shop in Silverdale, The Kowhai Tree, and we’re thankful for that, but cash donations are not so common.
“There has been a drop off, which is understandable at the moment, people need to look after their own families.”
Helping Hands helps women with a wide range of expenses, from changing locks and installing security cameras to car repairs and paying for children’s school needs. They are often sudden costs that woman cannot afford and that aren’t covered by WINZ or any other agencies, but they can be life changing, Marlene says.
“It’s also for when families are really doing it tough and they need a bit extra for things like school uniform or for a child to attend something that all the other children are going to, but the family can’t afford,” she says. “Or it might even be just a mobile phone top-up – you can always call 111, but you might just need a neighbour or friend, not the police or fire brigade to turn up.”
Hestia helps women and families from a wide geographical area, from the North Shore right up the Brynderwyn Hills and everywhere in between. The refuge provides a confidential and safe service for women in abusive domestic situations who are looking for help and support.
To donate to Hestia’s Helping Hands fund, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit https://givealittle.co.nz/org/hestia