Sandra’s story

October 30, 2018

When Sandra’s 18 month old granddaughter came into her fulltime care at 58, her life changed completely. From a working grandmother, to full-time caregiver of a toddler, the impact on her financial situation was overwhelming.

Her son and his partner had struggled with substance abuse, and Sandra created a home for her youngest grandaughter, now 8 years old, and soon after the eldest, now 15 years old. When their mother passed away, all their lives were irreversibly changed.

“Their mother was meant to see them that day, but she didn’t show up. That wasn’t unusual, so I didn’t think anything of it. That night we received news that she had passed away. Losing their mother has been hard on the girls, especially at such a young age.”

Sandra gave up her job to dedicate time to the children, helping them overcome their trauma and focus on their education. Soon after, she was asked to move out of her rental property and struggled to secure another tenancy.

Sandra and her grandchildren were homeless. “I first met the team at Uniting when I had no-where to stay. It was just after I first brought (my youngest granddaughter) home. We slept in the car for a couple of nights and then Uniting referred me to crisis accommodation and we stayed there for three months.”

It’s 6 years later and Sandra and her granddaughters now live in a private rental property. “Uniting is a vital part of my life. Without them, I don’t know where the girls and I would be.”

When times get tough and the bills stack up, Sandra knows she can access Food For Families. Not having to choose between putting food on the table and the girls’ education or well-being means the world to her. Sandra has accessed crisis accommodation, housing and tenancy support, financial counselling, bill assistance, back to school support and material aid over the last 6 years.

“When you’re struggling for money, food is often the first thing to go. If I’m running low on money, I know I can still provide the girls with food thanks to Uniting.”

Christmas last year was particularly hard on Sandra, she was able to access food support which meant she had a small amount of money to buy gifts for her granddaughters. “Thanks to the support, I could give the girls a proper Christmas. I really can’t thank you enough.”

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