An Invercargill couple say their six young kids will go without on Christmas day and it’s the Salvation Army’s fault.
However, the Salvation Army says the parents are to blame for their family’s predicament because they have relied on handouts rather than trying to help themselves.
Shelly Edwards and Leo Hewett said their six children aged 3-10 will get no presents and have a diet of chicken and bread on Christmas day because the Salvation Army failed to help them in their time of need.
“How can we tell the kids there’s nothing for Christmas?” Shelly asked from their south Invercargill state house yesterday.
Shelly said she was on the invalid’s benefit and received a working for families benefit, while her partner was unemployed and seeking employment at the meatworks.Their weekly income was $631 but just $15 was left over after paying for their rent, bills, food and petrol.
If you are on the invalids benefit, then you have probably been on there long-term. So wouldn’t it be a good idea to stop having kids, if you are struggling to pay for the ones you already have? Over 90% of families do this. They discuss how many kids they can afford (and want), and restrict their family to that size. Yes, accidents can occur – which is why we have a generous welfare system for families, but primarily you should not keep having more kids if you are on welfare and unable to provide for the ones you already have.
Struggling to afford a decent Christmas for their kids, they thought it was sorted when the Nga Kete trust referred them to the Salvation Army scheme called adopt-a-family, which sees businesses and individuals sponsor struggling families during Christmas by providing them with a hamper filled with food and treats.
The family had been on the same scheme last year and received presents for their children, a supermarket voucher and a food hamper, they said.
However, when Shelly failed to turn up to a budget advice meeting early this month she was told she had been taken off the adopt-a-family scheme this year, she said. …
Salvation Army spokeswoman Brenda King said the family had never been put on the adopt-a-family scheme this year, effectively because they had failed to help themselves.
Shelly had been using the services of the Salvation Army for about two years and when she received more than three food parcels in one year she was referred to a budget advice centre to receive financial planning assistance, King said.
However, Shelly had not engaged with the budget advisory service so was not put on the adopt-a-family scheme, King said.
The Salvation Army’s aim was for its clients to get to the point where they could look after themselves and be self sufficient.
“If we keep handing out we are enabling them to stay in the situation they are in. We aren’t actually helping them at all in the long run.”
Incidentally I think their estimate of their income is low. I make it:
- Invalids Benefit (couple rate) $217.75
- JobSeeker (couple rate) $174.21
- Family Tax Credits (for six kids) $414.00
So that is a total of $805.96 a week net, not $631. On top of that it is highly likely they get the accommodation supplement or a statehouse subsidized rent.
It would be nice if media did not just take for granted what people say they earn, but independently check their entitlements as I have done.
UPDATE: Assuming there are not two Shelley Edwards in Invercargill, it would seem the mother has convictions for fraud and dishonesty, and breaching home detention. The Judge commented:
You are a thoroughly dishonest woman
Also Stuff has closed comments on the article after just a couple of hours, presumably because they were running 99 to 1 against.
This is why trust in media keeps falling. They just present a sob story to their readers with no independent research or fact checking.