Due to inconsistent funding during the pandemic, Hawkesbury's Women's Cottage almost had to stop providing support to vulnerable women and children.
Through community support and funds raised through PayPal Giving Fund, Women's Cottage - based at Richmond - was able to continue its vital services in the domestic violence space.
The team even raised enough money to fund a new renovation project which will provide more women and children access to critical care.
Support is needed now, more than ever, with the cost-of-living crisis adding to financial distress.
Maria Losurdo, manager at The Women's Cottage, said the team was continuing to see "a huge impact on the number of women, and their children coming to The Women's Cottage in financial distress and in need of support".
"The Hawkesbury community has faced collective trauma following recent natural disasters, from the floods and bushfires to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which have caused community members to lose their homes," Ms Losordo said.
"Combined with the cost-of-living crisis, there's been an upswing in the number of women and children experiencing domestic violence, and who have been left with no affordable housing options, leading them to experience poverty and at times homelessness."
Suicide Prevention Australia's annual State of the Nation report for 2022 showed cost-of-living and debt was the lead cause in demand for suicide prevention services over the past 12 months, and this was higher for women at 44 per cent than it was for men at 36 per cent.
The Women's Cottage provides support to vulnerable women that live, study or work in the Hawkesbury region, who may be experiencing financial hardship, emotional distress or domestic violence and other forms of trauma. Currently, the team is focussing on vulnerable families struggling in the lead-up to Christmas.
Hawkesbury residents can assist The Women's Cottage by donating funds through PayPal Giving Fund at www.paypal.com/au/fundraiser/charity/3501832
"By donating through the PayPal Giving Fund, we can receive donations directly - allowing us to funnel funding to where it is most needed," Ms Losurdo said.
"In the lead-up to Christmas, we are raising funds for Christmas hampers for vulnerable families in need. Residents can donate directly to support - this can be through donating funds through PayPal Giving Fund, dropping off hamper items to the service directly and/or donating toys to the Richmond and North Richmond Bendigo Bank drop off points."
The cottage is currently awaiting development application approval for its renovations, which include more space for victim service and other counsellors, as well as an internal fit-out and a child-care space.
During the 2021-2022 financial year, The Women's Cottage helped women and children on over 4500 occasions. They helped over 3900 clients, including 1000 new clients, and 1500 children and/or young people in the families they supported.
PayPal Giving Fund Executive Director, Erica McLernon, said she was humbled by what the organisation had achieved for Australian charities in less than four years.
"The most amazing thing for us is seeing the lasting impact that the support of our programs can have for some charities," Ms McLernon said.
"We enable our partner programs to operate at scale and this can literally change what a charity thought was possible for their charitable programs."