WANGARATTA’S key emergency relief program has recovered from Federal Government funding cuts that earlier this year threatened to derail help for the most vulnerable people in rural city communities.
‘Loaves and Fishes – Christians Caring’ – which provides people faced with perilous financial problems with groceries and help with pharmaceutical and utilities’ bills – has won generous support from local people and business to recover its viability.
The Federal Government left Anglicare Victoria, the program’s lead agency, bewildered earlier this year when it rejected a $58,000 grant application to help fund Loaves and Fishes’ emergency relief and financial counselling services.
The cut amounted to a third of the annual budget of the award-winning service.
The counselling service has not been re-established but program chairman Ron Webb has told the Wangaratta Chronicle that Loaves and Fishes will provide all other usual emergency relief services in the year ahead.
“All emergency relief services have been reinstated,” he confirmed on Friday.
“We’ve come a long way since March.”