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Christmas can be a wonderful time to celebrate with family and friends, but it can also be a time that causes extra stress and financial pressures for some individuals and families.

As we approach the festive season, it’s important for Queenslanders to know that help is available to deal with family and financial pressures. This includes Emergency Relief services that assist vulnerable Queenslanders who may be struggling due to financial pressure, unexpected bills or personal crisis following a natural disaster.

Queensland’s Emergency Relief providers distribute cash, food vouchers, food parcels and third-party payments to people and families experiencing immediate financial crisis.

I am pleased that the Palaszczuk Government has recently renewed funding for 83 Emergency Relief services for a further three years.

From 1 January 2020 to 31 December 2022, a total of $5.26 million in funding will be provided to Emergency Relief providers so they can continue to offer this much-needed assistance.

These providers include St Vincent de Paul, Wesley Mission, Seventh Day Adventist Church, The Salvation Army and Lutheran Community Care, along with a number of community centres, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and women’s centres.

It’s also the time of year to look out for each other and connect with friends and neighbours.

In particular, reach out to your elderly neighbours, family and friends this festive season to ensure they are happy and healthy. Some seniors can feel isolated and lonely at this time of year, particularly if they have lost loved ones or if their families don’t live nearby. Sharing a cup of tea or having a chat can make all the difference to an older person who is experiencing social isolation.

Checking that our older neighbours, family and friends are safe and well not only keeps them out of harm’s way, but ensures we all benefit from living in a much safer, more connected and thriving community.

For a full list of organisations that provide emergency relief in Queensland, visit http://www.oneplace.org.au
If you know of anyone who is struggling this Christmas and school holiday season, please encourage them to reach out to their local organisation for support and assistance.

Assistance is also available via Lifeline’s 24-hour support service and the Seniors Enquiry Helpline (1300 135 500).
From my family to yours, Merry Christmas and best wishes for a healthy and prosperous New Year.