Rising Poverty a Grim, Growing Reality
The Salvation Army prepares for increased need as statistics climb leading into Christmas
The number of people needing welfare support from The Salvation Army is on the rise, prompting a plea to the New Zealand public to help break poverty this Christmas.
From July to September this year, more than 10,000 people needed help with food parcels alone – an eight per cent increase on the same time last year — and Christmas is expected to be even busier.
For thousands of families living in desperate need, poverty doesn’t take a break at Christmas, says Salvation Army head of social services Major Pam Waugh.
“This level of poverty, and the stress and heartache it brings can’t be justified,” says Major Waugh. “How can we sit down to a nice Christmas Day meal, surrounded by loved ones, knowing there are thousands of families without anything to eat, let alone gifts under the tree?
“The Salvation Army’s State of the Nation Report 2017 shows there are around 300,000 children deemed to be living in poverty in this country1 and concurrently we are hearing that half our country’s wealth is sitting in the top 10 per cent of individuals.
“It’s not right and it’s time for us to front up and act as a community.”
This Christmas season, more than 17,000 families in crisis are expected to seek help from The Salvation Army for food support, budgeting, counselling, education and accommodation assistance.
In response to critical need, The Salvation Army is asking the New Zealand public to give hope to those who need it most by donating to its Christmas Appeal, which launches today (Monday 20 November).
“Funds raised through the Christmas Appeal give people not only Christmas day to enjoy, but also the tools and support needed to make positive changes for the future. The relationships that The Salvation Army forms when helping families at Christmas means we can keep working with them — so one Christmas gift can become an investment in life-long transformation,” says Major Waugh.
“We need to remember that there is no break for families living in poverty. The heart of Christmas is giving and that can start with us.”
The Salvation Army Christmas Appeal launches on 20 November throughout New Zealand. You can donate online at salvationarmy.org.nz or by phoning 0800 53 00 00.
Issued on the Authority of Commissioner Andy Westrupp (Territorial Commander)
The Salvation Army, New Zealand Fiji & Tonga Territory
• We expect to help around 17,000 families over the Christmas period with food support, budgeting, counselling, advocacy and accommodation assistance.
• Each year about 60,000 children benefit from the support we provide their families – that’s about one-in-five of the 300,000 children living in poverty in New Zealand.