Crisis assistance, which is sometimes referred to as emergency relief, is the provision of material aid to a person, couple, family, or community in immediate need. It may also include a referral to other specialist community services, such as personal or financial counselling.

There are many reasons people need crisis assistance. These may include a sudden reduction in income, gambling issues, financial management problems, loneliness, the death of a loved one, relationship breakdown, domestic violence, drugs, illness, isolation, inherited debt, a major appliance failure, or having a wallet or purse stolen. These situations and others can cause financial as well as emotional distress.

Large increases in living costs and the requirements placed on refugees who are on bridging visas have continued to bring more people through the doors of our churches and agencies in search of help.

A report by the Australian Council of Social Service indicates that those at greatest risk are unemployed people, children in sole-parent families and people whose main income is from social security payments. In 2020, approximately 3.24 million people lived in poverty in Australia (of which 774,000 were children and 424,800 were young people).


How can my congregation provide crisis assistance? When a neighbour comes knocking is a resource to help you get started. It offers guidelines for establishing crisis assistance and ideas for a typical food parcel. It also provides suggestions for managing risks associated with confidentiality, negative behaviour, referrals to services and more.

God has given us all many talents and gifts to use to his glory. One of the gifts we possess is the gift of giving itself, without expecting anything in return. May God bless you as you show hospitality to strangers, speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, and defend the rights of the poor and needy (Hebrews 13:2; Proverbs 31:8,9).

You can download the When a neighbour comes knocking resource from

Tania Nelson – Executive Officer – Local Mission

Already a subscriber? Click here to login and read this article.
Not a subscriber? Click here to receive stories & upcoming issues in full