Communities at Work

Canberra Cost of Living Crisis

40,000 Canberrans, including 9,000 children urgently need your help. Please walk with us. Fight for their future.

Working Poor

Around 2,000 Canberrans are homeless and more than 3,000 are waiting for public housing. Approximately 40,000 Canberrans live below the poverty line, including 9,000 children.

Many more families live in insecure housing, where a medical emergency or sudden loss of income could put them on the street. They may not be eligible for government support because they “earn too much”. They are the working poor.

Michelle Colefax“The plight of the working poor is unprecedented in Canberra. Our pantries and other community services are supporting people who never thought they’d need help,” Michelle Colefax, Communities at Work CEO.

As the second most expensive housing market after Sydney, rising interest rates and rents have crushed many middle-income families.

One in three Canberrans lining up for food relief have never sought charity before.

Locals and new Australians all face the same problem – how to put food on the table with the rising costs of housing and groceries.

Communities at Work logo
Infographic - Why we need to help

Communities at Work is a non-denominational charity and the largest community services provider in the ACT.

That’s Where Communities at Work steps in

Infographic - Community Pantries

Community Pantries

Our community pantries in Tuggeranong and Gungahlin enable individuals and families to access food, hygiene and other essential household items.

Our pantries were especially busy this year with a 40% increase in new clients.

We can only meet this demand thanks to our generous donors and volunteers, and hardworking staff.

Charity MarchMingle logo
Canberra Foodbank
food pantry girls

We urgently need your support to continue helping Canberrans in need through our community pantries, clothing and crisis support, and transitional accommodation.

We fund our food pantries through surpluses from our income-generating activities, cash donations from the community and major fundraising events such as our Christmas Appeal and MarchMingle.

Charity MarchMingle logo

Case Histories

Taylor Family

“If it wasn’t for Communities at Work, I don’t know where we be.”

“Our child wasn’t attending care because we had fallen behind with the fees. It was difficult to keep our jobs as we had to then look after our daughter and care for our elderly parents.

It’s a vicious circle that nearly destroyed our family. Communities at Work stepped in. They arranged a payment plan so our daughter could return to care and my husband and I could alternate with our parents’ needs. We’ve also received support from the food pantry. We can truly see light at the end of the tunnel.”

financial crisis mother

Susan*, single mother of four, battling cancer

“Affording the daily essentials for me and my children while undergoing cancer treatment has been the biggest challenge of my life.”

“Not only did Communities at Work help me with my day-to-day requirements, they also made it possible for me and my children to visit family on the South Coast which I desperately needed during this tough time.”

crisis mother


“When our income unexpectedly dropped and all the bills arrived at once, we had nothing left for food. We never imagined being in this position.”

“It wasn’t easy asking for help but I’m so glad we did. It bought us time to sort out our finances and get back on our feet.

My husband and I are so grateful. We’re in a much better position now, providing for our children and running a small business.” 

financial crisis father

Georgia, single mother, Galilee School Graduate

“Communities at Work Galilee School helped without any discrimination or judgement. They believed in me – in all of us.”

“They helped me with things other schools never would – food, clothing and even childcare for my little one so that I could concentrate on completing year 12!”

young mum

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