With the holidays upon us, the Salvation Army is seeing a significant increase in the number of people in need of support compared to last year.
Since the onset of the pandemic, the number of requests for food, shelter and practical assistance has grown at an accelerated rate—in some locations, requests have increased by 200 to 500 per cent compared to last year.
Additionally, while the need for support has increased, the number of donations has decreased—the organization has only managed to reach half of its $23 million goal for this year.
“This has been a year like no other as our nation has struggled through one of the most difficult and painful times in memory,” Lt-Colonel John P. Murray, spokesperson for The Salvation Army in Canada, said in a news release.
“Thousands of families are seeking support this Christmas—many for the first time due to the economic downturn. The needs are urgent, and we have to act now,” he continued.
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Further, the Salvation Army anticipates the number of people in need of assistance will only increase in the coming months, and the majority of the funds raised during the kettle campaign will help assist vulnerable people during the holidays and throughout the year.
“It’s heartbreaking to realize that there are children in our community who don’t have enough to eat every day—even at Christmas,” Murray said.
“Their parents struggle to make ends meet and can’t afford basic needs, let alone Christmas presents,” he added.