SOMETIMES it only takes someone to lose their job or to fall pregnant to tip an otherwise financially secure family over the edge.
Both these things happened for the Stowers family earlier this year, leaving them suddenly struggling for survival.
Cel Stowers and wife Wendy Van Dyk-Stowers are New Zealand citizens who moved to Australia a few years ago to get support for Wendy's now 21 year old autistic son, Tim.
The move went smoothly initially, but after a surprise pregnancy and job losses for both, the couple said life changed overnight.
"I lost my job in March and Noah was born in June and we had all of this debt that we had accrued due to a number of redundancies, so we had to go insolvent," Wendy said.
"If I still had my job, things would have gone smoothly, but because we both had no jobs things were really hard."
Cel eventually managed to pick up a casual job, but even that was only enough to pay the rent and there were often weeks they didn't know how they would put food on the table.
The couple were put in touch with Christians Against Poverty (CAP) based at Camira's Westside Community Care Centre and said it was through their help things started to finally look up.
"The team at CAP were godsends and without them I don't know where we'd be," Wendy said.
"We got food parcels and it's horrible to have to admit that because we've always worked for what we wanted or needed."
"We've always just relied on ourselves to be self-sufficient and it was really difficult to swallow my pride," Cel said.
"It seems crazy running that fine line between going over the edge and just keeping your head above water, but it doesn't take much to be in that place."
The couple were recently nominated to receive a Christmas hamper as part of the Westside Community Care's Christmas Appeal, yet despite their hardship, they still found it hard to accept such generosity.
"When Jo from CAP rang me up and said they'd like to offer us a hamper, I thought I can't accept any more from this woman because I felt so bad," Wendy said.
"I thought there are families out there who are so much more deserving of a hamper, so what makes us so special?" Cel said.
"We are so grateful though and it will mean it's one less thing we have to worry about this Christmas."
The Westside Community Care Christmas Vouchers and Hampers Appeal has run for 20 years. To register for a hamper or to donate, call 3818 2915 between 9:00am- 2:00pm.
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