Adopt a Pensioner

Reporter: David Richardson

She failed to thaw the hearts of the politicians in Canberra but Betty Moore's fight for a better deal for pensioners has melted the heart of one young woman... Amanda Pike. "I thought if they're not going to do something about it I'm going to do everything in my power as a little person to hopefully be able to back Betty and get everyone else's eyes open and see what they can do to help - adopt a pensioner... that's my idea."

The 34 year old Gold Coast sales rep has been following Betty's story on Today Tonight, Betty's struggle to stretch her single aged pension every week. Betty's long hard battle to get pensioners a simple pay rise, a campaign that last week took her to the front doorstep of parliament house in Canberra. But it was Betty's bitter disappointment on budget night when she realised her calls for help had gone ignored that shocked Amanda. The government has refused to increase the pension by even as little as $10 a week, forcing Betty to tears.

To kick the campaign off, Amanda and her partner have decided to adopt Betty Moore. They hope Adopt A Pensioner can become a national campaign. "Whether it's gift vouchers or putting a washer on a tap. Anything. Just something to help them out" says Amanda. For Betty, who has no children of her own, Amanda's gesture is incredibly touching. She was moved to tears again when Amanda gave her a small present.

"It just shows you how desperate the situation is in Australia that we have to think of a scheme like "Adopt a Pensioner" to make sure our pensioners don't starve." Paul Versteege from the Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association has welcomed Adopt a Pensioner but is saddened that it's come to this. "The Rudd Government should be red-faced about the fact that we have so many pensioners probably watching this program and saying YES. I want those gift cards. It's a very sad state and affairs and one that needs to be fixed" adds Paul. Amanda's scheme aims to start small but she hopes it will spread nation-wide.

"Where they can put their names on maybe an internet or something and we can adopt a pensioner that way. "In the meantime I'm hoping people can look around their own neighbourhood, they might have a pensioner in their own unit block, or in their street and instead of just saying hi, get to know them and ask them is there something that I can do to help" says Amanda. The Combined Pensioners Association in NSW has agreed to distribute any gift cards to it's 8,000 needy members. National Seniors Australia, with offices across the country has also joined the Adopt a Pensioner scheme.... details of their locations can be found below.

Betty has now stepped back from the pension fight for a well deserved rest. She's also coming to terms with her sudden, belated adoption, realizing her campaign has worked after all. "If a matter of $5 or $10 a week makes a huge difference to them to be able to get extra groceries then 40 or 450 dollars a month can make a massive difference. I'm sure they can spare something... open your heart. It doesn't take alot of money to help" adds Amanda.

If you wish to "Adopt a Pensioner" try someone in your local community

If you wish to make a gift card donation please direct to the Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association.

Address: Level 9, 28 Foveaux Street
Surry Hills NSW 2010

Tel: (02) 9281 3588

Toll Free: 1800 451 488