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Tens of Thousands of Kiwis in Crisis

Tens of Thousands of Kiwis in Crisis

The message from this year’s Red Shield Appeal breakfasts was clear: poverty is real, it’s not going away, and tens of thousands of Kiwis are in crisis.

Breakfasts were held in Auckland and Wellington this week to highlight The Salvation Army’s work, and to tie in with the annual Red Shield Appeal.

Salvation Army head of Community Ministries, Jono Bell encouraged New Zealanders to dig deep both financially and personally to work together to help end poverty.

“We all have a responsibility. You can’t deny the fact that we have a crisis in New Zealand,” he told those gathered.

“I would encourage all of us to know our neighbours: two streets over there’s probably some whanau who are struggling.”

The Salvation Army’s Red Shield Appeal is a major fundraiser for its work with some of New Zealand’s most vulnerable people.

One in 40 New Zealanders accessed The Salvation Army’s services in 2018. From food parcels, to housing, addiction services, counselling services and budgeting advice, 120,000 New Zealanders’ lives were touched by The Salvation Army.

The Salvation Army is increasingly seeing the working poor come through its doors, as housing costs in particular continue to rise.

Jono says while The Salvation Army has the ear of the Government, and is grateful for its work in increasing access to services for some people in need, much more is required.

“Statistics New Zealand releases a report each year and it shows we’re not even making a dent in child poverty.

“We appreciate our partnership with the Government, but we were disappointed that it has taken up just two of the 42 recommendations on welfare reforms released in last week’s Welfare Expert Advisory Group report.

“Have some courage, is what I would say.”

People come to The Salvation Army with an array of issues.

“The complexity of people’s situations is alarming. The levels of debt, lack of housing, mental health issues tell us that poverty in New Zealand is alive and well.”

Housing is a key to solving poverty. More houses are needed, and they need to be affordable.

“It’s going to take decades to solve the housing crisis,” Jono said.

The Salvation Army recently got The Good Shop van on the road in south Auckland, as a foil for predatory shopping trucks that encourage shoppers to borrow at high interest rates to pay for goods sold at inflated prices.

A second Good Shop van will be launched in Porirua at the end of June, and Jono said its initiative such as these that will help solve the problem of poverty.

“Hope is the number one thing.”

Those attending the breakfast in Wellington were blessed with a stunning performance of Abide With Me by Le Art, one of 12 artists who brought Murray Thom’s dream of a collaboration between some of New Zealand’s best musicians and artists to fruition.

The Offering Project CD features renditions of 12 of the best known hymns and can be purchased for $20: more details are available at www.offering.org.

Twelve artworks were created by New Zealand artists in response to the 12 hymns. These will be auctioned at 6.30pm on Thursday, 9 May, 2019 at Amano Loft, Level 1, 106-108 Quay Street, Auckland.

All proceeds from sales go directly to the work of The Salvation Army.

© Scoop Media

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