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Meet the febfaster going sober to save money and pay it forward

One week into the month-long national fundraiser febfast over 2,000 participants have signed up to take a break from alcohol, go sugar-free of give up another vice. In the midst of Australia’s cost-of-living crisis it’s never been a more important time to support charities experiencing the double pinch of tighter government funding and donors doing it tough.

febfast has become a staple in the annual Australian crowdfunding calendar and in the past 19 years it has supported over 100,000 young people to access life-saving addiction services, housing options and reconnect with family, school and employment. But across the sector charitable donations plummeted during the coronavirus pandemic and have stalled the last three years. This is unsurprising with cost-of-living pressures that face everyday Australians that usually give once-off and regular donations.

Inflation remains high at 7%food and non-alcoholic beverages are up 8% and renters are reported to be paying 20% more each week compared to a year ago.

YSAS CEO Andrew Bruun said that the non-profit charity sector is not immune from these economic hardships.

“Often hip-pocket goodwill can be the first thing to go when people fall on hard financial times and people are understandably more careful in how they spend their money.”

“The cost-of-living crisis is having a two-pronged effect – on one hand it’s a difficult time to raise funds and on the other the young people accessing our services need the financial support more than ever.”

Bruun said that more people are turning to non-profit services like YSAS for help as the cost of living rises, but this increased demand is not necessarily met with more funding or resources. 

“Many non-profits like ours are expected to do more with less. That’s why it’s particularly touching this year to see thousands of Australians get behind febfast and support some of our most disadvantaged young people”.

For some febfasters the money-saving benefits of cutting out alcohol make it easier to get behind the cause.

“By doing febfast I’m saving money that I’d normally spend on a mid-week wine or a cheeky cocktail” said Sam Varian, a Gen Z febfaster from Melbourne.  

Varian said that as a renter he is feeling the heat of these “bizarre economic times”.

“What I like about febfast is it makes it super easy to pay my savings forward. All I have to do is donate what I’d normally spend on alcohol. It’s a little reprioritisation of how I spend for the month of February that makes a big difference.”

“It means I can still do my bit for people far more at risk of things like homelessness or addiction without breaking the bank. And if my family and friends can support me by donating to my page that’s a bonus, at the very least I know I am doing what I can,” said Varian.

Andrew Bruun said Sam’s sentiment reflect the Aussie spirit of coming together to support those that need it most, that febfast is all about.

febfast Campaign Manager Alex Harrison said that just $53 can help a young person access specialised drug and alcohol education and support.

“So far our average donation amount is sitting at $59.27, and we have 1,594 donations in the bank – so that’s over 1,000 young people we can provide expert advice and support to improve their mental health, address addiction issues and help them build a better future”.

It’s not too late to register for febfast and take on the challenge or donate to the campaign www.febfast.org.au.

Australians can sign up as individuals and ask friends and family to sponsor their journey to and businesses can sign up their teams to take the challenge together.

About febfast

This February, you get to choose how you’ll change young people’s lives.

Across Australia, thousands of people take on the month-long challenge for the month of February to raise funds for young people experiencing serious disadvantage to access the resources and support they require to lead healthy and fulfilling lives. Find out more or register at www.febfast.org.au

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