The Salvation Army is launching its annual Christmas Appeal, aiming to raise $12 million to ensure Aussies in need have the Christmas they deserve, particularly after a devastating year of bushfires, drought and COVID-19.
This year, through its frontline mission, The Salvos have helped more than 80,000 people impacted by COVID-19, providing over $10 million worth of financial assistance.
Although Christmas is a time of joy for many Australians, Major Sandra Walmsley from the Forbes and Parkes Corps said those doing it tough will find the festive season ahead the most challenging and difficult time of the year.
Many Australians are living below the poverty line, struggling to afford the necessities, she said.
This year, will also see increased numbers of people spending the Christmas period alone, due to the impact of COVID-19.
"Christmas is the busiest time of the year for our Salvation Army personnel, and we are expecting to see a large increase in demand for our services this year due to the challenges raised through drought, bushfires and COVID-19," Major Walmsley said.
"We would ask you to support our Christmas Appeal this year, to help us leave no one in need this Christmas."
At Christmas, Salvation Army teams will distribute more than 30,000 hampers and vouchers, give out over $1.3 million worth of gifts and toys and support more than 50,000 families in need.
The Salvos will also provide more than 130,000 meals, more than 65,000 beds for those who need a place to stay and provide more than 7600 families with accommodation during the festive season.
"Anyone in need this Christmas can reach out to us by calling (02) 6852 2133 and we'll do all we can to support you," Major Walmsley said.
"We don't want anyone to go it alone this year, if you need food, gifts, financial support or are feeling lonely, please get in touch with us.
"After the devastating year that has been, it is more important than ever to look out for one another, to connect with each other and embrace the true meaning of Christmas."
For financial and emergency assistance, please reach out to The Salvos' national financial support service on 1300 371 288 (9am-5pm Monday to Friday).
Please donate to The Salvation Army's Christmas Appeal at salvationarmy.org.au or by calling 13 SALVOS (13 72 58).