When most of us think of Christmas time, we think of family, food, and celebrations. There’s a wonderful feeling of joyful togetherness as we gather with those who love us.
But for people like April, living on the streets at Christmas is a nightmare.
Christmas on the streets is not about food, fun and family. Sleeping on the streets at Christmas means loneliness, desperation and hunger.
April never had a secure, loving family. She can’t even remember a Christmas that brought her joy.
April endured a horrific childhood of violence and abuse, then lost her elder brother to a tragic motorcycle accident when she was just 12. She has felt constant shame and has suffered ongoing trauma since very early childhood.
With no emotional supports around, she had no one to help her understand that the abuse she suffered was wrong, and it was not her fault.
April lived as best she could with the scars of abuse and neglect. She got married and was living a life that allowed her to feel removed from her past.
Tragically though, April’s former husband ended his own life and she was devastatingly left alone to grieve this loss with no family or friends for support.
Years later, while she was working on a prawn trawler in Western Australia, April fell pregnant. But sadly, her baby boy Jacob was born with Muscular Dystrophy, which put a load of unexpected pressure on April in her fragile state:
“I wasn’t coping. One day I just picked up the phone and called family services and asked for someone to take my precious baby away. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I knew I couldn’t continue to give him the care he needed so there was no other choice”.
In a desperate attempt to escape her reality, April left for Adelaide with nothing more than a backpack.
April remembers her first few nights back in Adelaide very clearly. She was facing another Christmas alone – and she was homeless.
“I don’t like sleeping on the streets. I didn’t get any sleep the first few nights. Sleeping out means you live in constant fear. You don’t know where to go or what to do. It’s so lonely. At night, you try to push away the pain of hunger. It becomes something you just live with… a gnawing, stabbing pain. Hunger becomes a dreaded companion.”
Your support will help provide nourishing food, support - and hope for a better life.
Despite a tough start, April’s return to Adelaide meant a new beginning. Thankfully – she found Hutt St Centre.
“When I moved back home to Adelaide I never imagined this would be the place I’d finally find happiness and genuine support from people who actually cared about me.”
For the first time in her life, April reached out for help. She came to Hutt St Centre looking for food and a hot shower - and found so much more. She found kindness and friendly smiles. She found hope.
“I began visiting Hutt St every Tuesday to speak with a support worker, who really listened to me and gave me the guidance I needed at the time. It was the support I’d never had. I started to heal, on the inside.”
April joined the Women’s Wellbeing Group here at Hutt St Centre, which helped her to rebuild self-confidence.
With your help, Hutt St Centre can change more lives, just like we helped April.
A donation will help provide a hearty meal and support on Christmas Day. It’s a simple gesture that means so much – and it could be a new beginning for someone facing homelessness.
Thank you for your support.