Illawarra residents are being asked to dig deep and help end the pain of poverty this winter.
For many, the chill of winter coupled with the strain of household expenses can mean months of loneliness at this time of year.
Illawarra residents can help by supporting the St Vincent de Paul Society's Winter Appeal this year.
St Vincent de Paul Society Wollongong Central Council president Alex Popov said the society's services are in increasingly high demand.
"Many families are impacted by the rising cost of living, and this winter will see thousands of Australians struggle to make ends meet, sometimes facing complete isolation when they can barely afford to leave their homes after paying for food and utilities," he said.
"Poverty and loneliness go hand in hand.
"Poverty often leads to social isolation and a sense of being disconnected or forgotten, and this can have significant mental and physical health impacts.
"Vinnies is committed to giving people choices that provide the sanctuary, security and safety each person deserves.
"(However) we need the support and generosity of local communities to fund our good works, allowing us to alleviate immediate need and empower people to regain control of their lives."
The public can donate to the appeal online here or by phoning 131 812.
During the June to August winter months in 2018, the Wollongong Central Council (which extends from Macarthur in the north to the Shoalhaven in the south and Southern Highlands in the west), provided almost $400,000 worth of material assistance to people experiencing disadvantage.
This included more than $196,000 in energy and EAPA vouchers to help families keep the power on and avoid social isolation.