Charities call for donations this winter

Border charities are calling for donations as they support an influx of residents only an unexpected bill away from going hungry this winter. 

It comes as EnergyAustralia announced an electricity price rise close to 20 per cent in NSW from July 1.

Culcairn’s Charmaine Steenwelle said something must be done about the rising costs.

Each winter she faces a choice between going further into debt or keeping her children warm and fed. 

Miss Steenwelle and her partner have installed solar panels and had their house rewired.

Despite her efforts, she said she’s $6000 in debt and unlikely to be out any time soon.

“I don’t know how people are supposed to survive – you can’t survive,” Miss Steenwelle said. 

“We live just for the week, where can you cut costs when you’ve cut everything you can?”

The Bureau of Meteorology found the start of winter this year was particularly particularly cool. The first 10 days of June saw a low of -1.1 degrees on and a maximum of 16.7 degrees compared to 2016’s high of 18.1 degrees and low of 3.3 degrees.

Bill Harrington of Albury-Wodonga Firewood said the weather meant it had been a strong sale season so far.

“There’s been strong demand,” he said.

“It’s about average this year so far with sales, it all depends what the weather does and if it gets wet – last year sales were huge it was so wet.”

Albury-Wodonga Food Share regional manager Peter Matthews said the high cost of electricity would hurt Border residents, with around 3000 people a week running out of food. 

“Many households are living on the edge of running out of money,” he said.

“If something out of the ordinary comes along, there’s no cash for food.”

Salvation Army major Irene Pleffer said people would be feeling the chill throughout the region. 

“People need warm clothes, blankets, assistance in heating – it’s a difficult time for families, especially people in low socio-economic areas” she said.

Red Cross head of retail, Richard Wood called for residents to donate wool clothes.

“Anything warm and woolly in good condition is greatly appreciated,” he said.

“If it’s the kind of thing you’d give to a friend then it’s something we’d love.”