St Finbar's Glenbrook Parish

Project Compassion 2015: choosing food for life in Central NSW


Karen is a First Australian living in a remote rural community. Like many she can’t always afford or access healthy food. At the Centacare Wilcannia-Forbes Manage Your Income, Manage Your Life Program, supported by Caritas Australia, Karen gained the skills she needed to budget and choose healthy food for her family.

Project Compassion 2015: Central NSW
Karen reads with her kids at the local Library. Photo: Danielle Lyonne

For the majority of Australians, good health and great food are part of everyday life. But the story is starkly different for First Australians living in rural communities, where low incomes, limited access to nutritious, affordable food, and poor food choices (due to lack of education) are severely compromising the health and well-being of families.

In Central New South Wales, sole mother-of-six Karen had limited education in life-skills such as money management, cooking, nutrition and health. Food and groceries in remote communities like Karen’s are expensive due to freight costs and limited local competition. As a result, it was very hard to stretch her Centrelink payments to afford essentials like food and rent. 

“I was in a lot of debt and wasn’t handling my money properly,” says Karen. “Feeding the kids was about what was easiest, not what is healthy.”

Karen had never linked good budgeting habits to good food, good health and a better (less stressful) life. So, two years ago, when she enrolled in the Centacare Wilcannia-Forbes Manage Your Income, Manage Your Life Program supported by Caritas Australia, a new world opened up to her. Through a series of budgeting workshops and monthly budget planning sessions, combined with nutrition workshops and cooking activities, Karen gained the tools she needed to take control of her money and budget so she could provide regular, healthy food for her family.

“I learnt how to make quiche,” says Karen. “My family loved it!”

“Now my kids eat healthy and they’re willing to try new foods,” Karen says. “I want them to be healthy and strong.”

Centacare also introduced Karen to the Food Support Program, where people on low incomes can buy affordable groceries and make their dollars go further. Taking control of her finances, and learning a new range of life-skills has given Karen the ability and confidence to choose foods for a healthier life that will lead to a better future for her family.

Yes, you can make a real difference. Together we can help the poorest of the poor live a life of dignity. We can help them become self-sufficient so they don’t need to rely on charity. Donations of $2 or more are tax deductible. Make a donation to Project Compassion here.

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