Winter for many of us is a season filled with joy because of warm evenings at home, hot chocolate and lattes, holiday breaks from school and work so plenty of time with family and loved ones! Unfortunately, for those living in poverty, winter can be the most difficult time of year for many reasons. In this post, we will outline four of those reasons.
1. Inadequate shelter and clothing
If you have ever went out unprepared for weather, you likely can imagine what it is like being cold and uncomfortable in harsh weather. If you have ever sent your child to school without a raincoat or warm boots, only later to realize that it will be raining all day, you might be able to imagine the distress a parent goes through when they know their child is at risk of being cold or getting sick. These scenarios may give you an idea of what living in poverty in the winter can be like when you do not have sufficient clothing and your home is not equipped to deal with the cold.
2. Seasonal illnesses
The seasonal cold and flu that comes with winter is something we are all quite familiar with, especially in the past two years considering everything with the Covid-19 pandemic. While our fall and winter routine may involve taking our flu vaccine, stocking up on cold and flu medicine and taking extra vitamin C to protect us from getting ill, for those in poverty the cold and flu can be much more dangerous. Without adequate food and safe water to maintain a healthy body, those in poverty are more likely to be at risk of getting sick. Lack of access to health care means that if someone does get sick, they are unlikely to get the support or treatment they need to recover. Unfortunately, for the elderly this can be very dangerous and even fatal.
3. Increased fuel costs
‘Heat or eat’ is a common choice for those who live in poverty in the winter. For families that struggle to afford fuel during the cooler months, choosing heat may mean cutting back on food consumption or foregoing meals entirely. For those who live in regions without electricity and in shelters, this can result in endless nights of cold and little food to eat. Again, this makes those in poverty more vulnerable to illness and if they do get ill, more at risk of facing more severe symptoms.
4. When the weather gets cold, people who don’t have access to a car or public transport can find it difficult to get around.
For many kids, this means that they must walk to school without proper clothing. Many elderly people have to walk to work in the cold, even if they’re still working to take care of themselves. Even those who rely on social services may not be able to get there easily, because they still have to walk there and wait for their help. Some charities provide transportation for their beneficiaries. However, budgets are sometimes limited, so this is not always possible. This means that when the weather gets cold and people have poor transportation options, not only are they unable to leave their homes because of the cold and snow, but they also may be cut off financially due to lack of support or income.
As you can see, the challenges facing those in poverty during the winter are tremendous. That is why we have launched our Winter Appeal.
This appeal will work to supply food and/or heating to those in need this winter.
You can help make a difference by donating today and supporting a family in need.