Your regular donations changed a child's life and brought a family back together again.
Chelsea worked hard to bring up five boys. Ashton was one of her middle sons and every two weeks he'd lose control. He would get what his mum describes as "this superhuman strength" and try to hurt his own brothers. Ashton was so sad and angry that he even thought of taking his own life.
Chelsea didn't know why her 10 year old son's behaviour was so out of control. The only thing she thought would help was to move the family interstate and give Ashton a fresh start.
The worst thing for Ashton was that he didn't know why he was so angry. He was just as confused and scared as his mum and he couldn't cope any more. No one should feel like this, especially not a child. And when Ashton's behaviour didn't improve, Chelsea was at a loss and felt all alone. That was until a mother at school introduced her to Kathrine, a Red Cross staff member who works with vulnerable families in regional communities. Chelsea says meeting with Kathrine was such a great help, "I found out what real friends are".
Reaching out for help
One of Chelsea's struggles was raising her family on a low income. She bought cheap and easy food, thinking she was doing the right thing, but it was loaded with calories and all kinds of additives. They even had to skip meals, or eat the same things over and over again to save money. When a child isn't getting a balanced diet at home, it can cause many kinds of behavioural and developmental problems. For Ashton, it was causing him to have angry outbursts and he was having a tough time fitting in at school and keeping up in class.
Chelsea was amazed to learn from Kathrine that something as simple as a poor diet could cause a dramatic effect on a child's emotions. "He'd bottle it all up. Happiness, sadness and anger. Then every two weeks he'd explode and we all had to hide". Of course Chelsea wanted to learn more so Kathrine took her along to the Red Cross food and education program. This is the day that changed Chelsea and Ashton's lives forever.
Read online or download our Healthy Eating Book
Simple steps to a healthier family life
You only have to see Ashton today. Thanks to your support, the whole family is stronger and closer than ever. Through Red Cross Chelsea has learnt a whole new way of life that revolves around food and proper nutrition.
Ashton is now a healthy, happy boy and that's thanks to nutritious food - and you. Many families are not getting the basic nutrition they need, simply because of a lack of knowledge. Too many families feel they are on their own, that no one cares. As Kathrine, our family support worker explained: "We need to be approachable - people feel they can tell us anything." So when Chelsea opened up about Ashton, help was at hand, all because of your generosity.
For some the barriers to healthy eating are significant and include being isolated, lacking access to transport and shops, or even the high cost of food. For others they may simply not know the difference good food can make, and how it can bring families together.
Chelsea agreed. "Kathrine showed me that you can do instant food without cooking the packet stuff that is full of salt and sugar. With cooking vegetables, I learnt that you can freeze them part-cooked in little ziplock bags. Then, when you're rushing to cook dinner, it's really quick and healthy." This was just one of many tips that have made all the difference to this family, especially to Ashton.
"I'm so proud of all my kids, but I'm so proud of Ashton," Chelsea asked us to tell you. "His grades have gone up two levels. He got an A in his class project and he actually stood up and made a speech. He'd never do that before. And he's a long distance runner now - house captain of the team. Earlier this year, he beat his personal best. When I saw him come around the corner, I burst into tears. Everyone was cheering for him."
No child should ever go through life feeling so desperate that they think there is no future for them. Your generous ongoing donations help families like Ashton's live a healthy and happy life together.
Please find below a recipe book to give you a sample of the delicious and nutritious meals we teach families to cook. Please feel free to enjoy them as a reminder of what your support can achieve!
Healthy Eating Book