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Emmanuel City Mission volunteers are serving up to 1400 meals a week (The Catholic Leader)

More people are seeing their budgets slip into the red with rises in rent, fuel and power bills, and the staff at Brisbane’s Emmanuel City Mission are seeing more newcomers through their door. Source: The Catholic Leader. 

“It is real,” says operations manager Tim Noonan. “It’s not just something that’s happening on the six o’clock news.

“There’s a lot of people, a growing number of people going through very, very troubled seasons in their lives.”

Mr Noonan said he was seeing it reflected in operating costs. He said broadly the need had doubled in the past 18 months. Before, they were doing about 600 meals a week and now it is up to 1400 meals a week.

He said they had also seen a tripling in the number of women seeking their services.

In previous years, 10 per cent of the visitors were women but that was up to 30 per cent this year. He said many of the visitors were experiencing a housing crisis, too.

Some are sleeping out of their cars, others living under a bridge or in tents at a local park, he said.

He said there were also people who had jobs but because of unforeseen financial turns like a doubling in a power bill, they had to turn to ECM for breakfast and lunches.

Mr Noonan joined ECM last October. He said God had been “dropping breadcrumbs” for him along the way and he felt like his new position was the right fit, part of “God’s plan”.

“I didn’t realise how miserable I was until I got out of it (the corporate world),” he said.

He entered a new world and one that did not fit to the tight calculations and risk assessments of his past job as an accountant.

He said by all logical reasoning, ECM should not work.

“You got a room full of people with pretty troubled pasts, probably violence, probably drugs, alcohol, prison,” he said.

“You got 100 people in a room like this, it shouldn’t work by any sort of secular common measure risk assessment. And it does.”


Emmanuel City Mission sees surge in need amid cost-of-living pressures (By Joe Higgins, The Catholic Leader)