“One day I spiralled into an alcohol-induced psychosis. I called ‘000’ and told them I was afraid I was going to harm myself and that my children needed to be taken into care.”
These are Fiona’s words. The words of a woman in crisis. And there’s countless words like them told daily to volunteer members of St Vincent de Paul Society Queensland (Vinnies).
The charity has launched their annual Christmas Appeal and highlighted Fiona’s story – a story about a single mother of three who checked into rehab and sought Vinnies’ help to overcome her addiction and reunite her with her children after they were placed into foster care.
Fiona’s story is just one example of how Vinnies helps everyday Queenslanders in need.
“Vinnies work tirelessly to restore hope to those like me – who used to have none,” said Fiona, who agreed to share her story to encourage others to donate to the Vinnies Christmas Appeal.
“With the help of Vinnies, I found the courage to keep myself strong. I had a hand-up and I reached for it. A hand-up from people who taught me how to live again.”
Fiona entered Vinnies’ Families Back on Track Program, a supported transitional housing program for homeless single-parent families and attended educational programs such as anger management and budgeting. Her Vinnies support officer and Department Of Child Safety worker helped her navigate her way through reuniting with her children.
“Vinnies gave my family back a life, and for that I will be ever grateful. They restored my hope for a happy life with my children,” she said.
“I also want to tell people about how the donations of everyday people are put to good use assisting others who have nowhere to turn.”
One year later, Fiona and her family moved out of the housing program. Fiona reports that they’re “healthy, happy and are doing well at school.”
“They are thriving now, not just surviving,” she said. “I’ve been sober for three years and I’m even training to become an Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) officer at a rehabilitation centre.”
St Vincent de Paul Queensland State President John Forrest said help comes in many different ways from Vinnies, who aim to ‘restore hope’ for those disadvantaged this Christmas.
“It could be providing a blanket over someone’s shoulders, a roof over their head for a night, a food hamper personally delivered into their kitchen, a medical prescription purchased, or a bill paid to keep the power on,” said Mr Forrest.
“The sheer volume of people needing our help is rising steadily each year. Families are doing it tough in 2015 and singles and the elderly are being hit just as hard.”
You can help Vinnies continue to restore hope for the many everyday Queenslanders who need their help this Christmas by making a donation to the Vinnies Christmas Appeal.
Across the state, almost 300,000 Queenslanders in need were helped by St Vincent de Paul Society Queensland, who provided almost $30 million worth of assistance.
To make a donation phone 13 18 12 or visit www.vinnies.org.au/christmasappeal