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Pam Kiriakidis
Pam Kiriakidis
Pam Kiriakidis has worked as a journalist at the North Central Review since 2022, with a particular focus on the City of Whittlesea and stories for the Whittlesea Review. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Media and Communications majoring in journalism and focuses on politics, community, and health with the occasional niche sports story finding its way in front of her.

Love In Action Wallan (LIA) is asking for community support from this year’s trivia night to assist more families who are experiencing cost-of-living pressures.

The much-loved event will be LIA’s third annual trivia night, with donations going toward supporting struggling community members right up until Christmas, when the non-profit organisation begins supplying Christmas hampers for the festive season.

LIA President Sarah Brewer said July’s trivia night aimed to help the team operate through the Christmas period, particularly after running out of food twice during last year’s festivities.

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“We want to make this our biggest Christmas that we can, and want to make sure that we want to try not to say no to anyone that really needs help this Christmas,” she said.

“Without the trivia nights and without the funds raised at this event, we may not be able to reach as many families as we need to … this Christmas … because we just don’t have the funds – we’re spending so much money now, constantly buying food.

“We’re finding that we need to increase our fundraising efforts because we’ve got to try and raise more money to be able to feed more families, and we are also trying to pre-empt what Christmas is going to be like.”

With 300 families on the books, LIA regularly helps at least five to ten families a week, with new families regularly added, including some who are homeowners.

Over the last 12 months to the March 2024 quarter, the consumer price index rose 3.6 per cent, lower than the 4.1 per cent annual rise in the previous quarter.

It marks the fifth consecutive quarter of lower annual inflation since the peak of the 7.8 per cent in the December 2022 quarter, followed by last year’s 7 per cent rise in the March 2023 quarter.

Ms Brewer said families were still feeling the cost-of-living pressures from last year.

“What we’re finding this year, is that it’s the continuation of last year, but it’s the homeowners and families whose interest rates have not gone down, and their pay hasn’t gone up,” she said.

“It’s just everything coming at them at once – it’s the petrol, it’s the cost of how much it is to go to the market, and what we’re finding more challenging this year too – because how expensive food is – is people aren’t able to donate as much as they did last year.

“We’re still getting a great amount of support from the community, people are still doing what they can, but they will probably be a bit more cautious about how much they buy to donate to us, because it’s so expensive.”

In the meantime, LIA is gearing up for winter, with June and July expected to be the hardest months for families under the cost-of-living pressures.

“It’s so much more challenging because it’s so much more isolating as well. For example, a lot of our families may walk a lot during the rest of the year to save money on petrol but it’s such a bitterly cold winter,” Ms Brewer said.

“We definitely need more warm type foods … and if everybody puts one or two items in the trolleys, we will be great during winter. It doesn’t have to be big, excessive shops.”

Ms Brewer stressed the importance of the next few months and invited the community to attend the trivia night, which will take place on July 20 at The Grove, Hidden Valley.

For more information and to book tickets, please visit bit.ly/3VnDrs9.

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