“550 Reasons to Smile” is just one of dozens of organisations that have endorsed the Living Incomes for Everyone Campaign!
What must it mean to be “temporarily raised from destitution …”? Read on.

When JobSeeker at $550/week started we witnessed for the first time what occurs when people are able  to take a break from the daily grind of financial hardship. They can catch their breath, catch a break, and turn their life around. This has happened for people in receipt of the payments that attracted the extra $550 per fortnight.  It was a deliberate and welcomed action by the Government.  It is simple economics, put the money in the hands of those who are at breaking point and it will be spent.  Saving was never on the radar.

550 Reasons to smile was an organic name, it captured the spirit, the essence of the silver lining from the pandemic, and nothing is more real than the truth.  The concept started when pictures stated to pop up on my phone, from women whose constant companion was hardship. But this time these pictures were telling a different story. It started with a pic of winter P`J`s, it went to a full grocery shop which included fresh fruit and vegetables. I was trusted with pictures of children who smiles told me that they knew that something good was happening, they were getting different food and this time mum was eating with them, there was enough for all.  We needed a platform that could tell this story, the magic needed to be shared, we wanted to reach the community, we wanted media attention and we wanted to show the Government.  We also wanted to give a space for people living in hardship, some of the best money managers to “tell it like it is” but with a narrative that included dignity and hope. We needed to combat the offensive prejudice, which was mean-spirited, singular, and simply wrong. 

The media reached us through the page, we could provide living proof. It was no longer a concept. The Supplement has been the best and positive investment; it has been profound despite its short life.  The shopping list includes safety, moving from homelessness to a house, buying food which includes fresh fruit and vegs, health care and not skipping appointments or not filling scripts, keeping the car on the road, no longer hand-washing because a washing machine is possible, sleeping due to less stress and also new pillows and blankets, underwear, haircuts, glasses, children playing sport, having friends and celebrating birthdays. New lives are imagined, and study is underway. The basics are in reach and items, like sanitary products, are no longer rationed . The chance to get to the dentist, was such a constant statement that we wrote to the Australian Dental Association, surely, they had something to say. The pictures show a compelling and powerful reality. 

The last media articles from Mamamia have spoken about the campaign being spearheaded by myself and Nikita. Cool wording and we will take it. 
But… we are very aware of the those who missed out on the payment and the slated reduction of the Supplement on 25th September 2020 leaves us in a cold sweat.

This is where LIFE steps in. It has been harsh, hard, and tough for way too many and for far too long. We support the LIFE demands and will be standing with them on the journey.  In closing if you get a chance, swing by our page: 550 Reasons to smile

Terese  Edwards and Nikita Radford

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