Feed a family doing it
tough this Christmas

Renee’s story

Pregnant and alone

When I was 18 years old I was told I would never have kids because I had endometriosis. So I got dogs to have fur babies instead.

When I found out I was pregnant I was going downhill, I was in an abusive relationship. The father cheated on me…

Because of the abuse, I had started drinking and smoking marijuana, but then I found out I was pregnant.

I found out when I was only five weeks. I went to the doctor because I was feeling really tired, sick and was struggling at work. I didn’t think I was pregnant because I was told I would never have kids. Then we did a pregnancy test and I was!

That was it! I quit drinking and smoking marijuana straight away. I’m just quitting smoking now, that one has been a hard one to shake.

No work, no money, no rent

I had to give up my job as a traffic controller when I was further along with my pregnancy. It was too risky for me to be standing on the road like that. But this meant I lost my home.

Family support

Me and my dad get along relatively well, although me and his wife don’t. They got married when I was a teenager and it was all happy families. But a few things happened, I felt like I was pushed out of the family, and I carried on a bit like all teenagers do.

My mum and me get along. As long as you don’t put us in a house together for longer than a week – we get a long like best mates. We clash, even about the smallest things, we nit pick at each other!

I get a along with my family, but not enough to be able to live with them.

At the age of 24, Renee was expecting her first baby after being told that she could never have children. She was alone, unable to work and on the verge of homelessness.

Renee was given a lifeline and was provided with housing and one-on-one support as part of our HOPE program. HOPE specifically helps women and mothers with complex needs such as homelessness, mental health, a history of trauma or who have been in foster care.

Renee was also a recipient of a Gift of Goodness fresh food hamper…

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"Thank you so much for the hamper I received last year!

It was a great help. When I was pregnant, all the money I had after I paid rent was about $215 a fortnight. With that money I had to try and pay for electricity, food for the dog, food for me. I also needed to buy some things to get ready for Rori!

So the hamper was a huge relief to receive - It was a little bit of money that I didn’t have to spend on food, that I could put towards my birth and things I needed for Rori. I was so thankful."

Twelve months later Renee is the proud mother of a baby boy called Rori and looking forward to Rori’s first Christmas.

Over the last year Renee has learned a lot about being a mum to a young baby and benefited from support services to help her with her budgeting, food planning and counselling support when it was required.

The Future

I have turned everything around, Rori is my light at the end of the tunnel – he’s my little torch.

My time here ends in April 2020, so I’m going to start looking for private rentals soon. We are hoping to be able to stay in Sydney to be close to my mum. But eventually move somewhere down the coast when he’s ready to go to school. I went to a school down there and I like the small town feel.

This house has done us wonders and I’m so excited to pass it on to another pregnant mum.

I’ve become so used to being part of the program now, and feeling so supported. Before that I was all on my own. So I’m nervous to finish the program but also excited to do it on my own.

I’m hoping to go back to work a couple of days a week when Rori’s one.

HOPE will help set me up with day care, and link me with programs to help me get back into work.

I really want to study - I want to become a photographer! I want to take pictures of babies and old people. With the elderly they are just beautiful. And babies – they are perfect no matter what angle to get them from!

Photography is also the kind of work I can fit in around Rori, I can freelance, do children’s parties and stuff like that.

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HOPE has helped me in so many ways. With my home, counselling, they’ve helped me to control my emotions a bit better. They have also linked me with a few different programs, like the one that help me stay on top of my finances. I fell behind with my electricity bill so they linked me with a company to help me pay it off.

They help me with everything. They’ve been a great support and have helped me to be a great mum to Rori. Without all their support, who knows where we’d be. I’d probably be arguing with my mum a lot, maybe sleeping on the streets, you know?

A gift of goodness will show Renee she is not alone this Christmas.

Please contribute in a small way that has such a big impact on vulnerable Sydney families like Renee’s, by donating a gift of goodness fresh food hamper.

For families caught in the crises of homelessness, domestic violence, isolation and addiction, with hardly any money to spare for the essentials, Christmas is a time of struggle and hardship.

And sometimes it is simply the little things that can make all the difference.

A little thing … like a week’s supply of fresh food and vegetables and groceries can relieve the stress of not being able to afford the most basic food items to make a healthy meal.

We currently have 25 families in your local area that need your help this Christmas.

Please donate today!

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