Heat or Eat? Power bills or food?

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Nezar and Hanan Saad. Photo: Giovanni Portelli
Nezar and Hanan Saad. Photo: Giovanni Portelli

Every night Nezar and Hanan Saad pray not only for their family but also the next day’s weather.

Two of a growing number of Australians grappling with the rapidly rising cost of living, they can’t afford to turn on their heater to warm their modest one-bedroom Greenacre granny flat and plead for a reprieve from the winter cold snap.

Left with only $70 each week to cover food, medical expenses and bills after paying their rent, the pensioners who also struggle with English say they can’t justify turning on their old air conditioner when they are already battling to buy essentials.

Living in their landlord’s backyard they are invisible to just about everyone except the Melkite Charitable Foundation.

Each week, the family receive food hampers and help with paying bills including electricity which they say some weeks saves them from going hungry.

With five adult children and 13 grandchildren, the pensioners say it is very hard saying no to their family when they visit and complain about the cold.

“We constantly have to decide whether we eat or turn the heater on knowing it will bump up the cost of our already expensive electricity bill.”

“If we don’t get help from the Melkites we can’t turn on the heater, it’s that simple,” Nezar said.

“It is very frustrating telling our young grandkids we can’t afford heating during winter but that’s the reality.

“We constantly have to decide whether we eat or turn the heater on knowing it will bump up the cost of our already expensive electricity bill.

“We have five married children, who are also struggling to raise their young kids as energy prices are soaring and the cost of living is becoming very expensive.

“We honestly don’t know where we’d be without the help of the Melkites, they are a Godsend.”

The Melkite Charitable Foundation assist around 500 families annually supplying food hampers as well as vouchers for electricity, gas and water as well as helping with medical bills.

Operating for 22 years, they donate around $100,000 each year to those in need from both government grants and community fundraisers.

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