Not For Use prior to 12 December 2019
Salvos say Christmas need is greater than ever with bushfire & drought adding to widespread financial hardship
The Salvation Army says it’s expecting to help more people than ever before this Christmas, due to the impact of the bushfire crisis, the unrelenting drought and new research showing one in five Australians are worried about how they will pay for Christmas expenses.
The Salvos’ research, undertaken by Roy Morgan for The Salvation Army’s Christmas Appeal, also reveals:
· More than 45% report experiencing social isolation, anxiety, depression and or fear of abuse at Christmas.
· Two thirds (64%) said Australians are losing the meaning of Christmas
· One in three (32%) feel pressured to spend more than they can afford at Christmas
· Over 12 million (65%) Australians said the Christmas period adds extra strain to their finances
· Almost 6 million (29%) Australians feel some level of loneliness or social isolation during the Christmas period.
Salvation Army spokesperson Lauren Martin says the ongoing drought – described as the worst in living memory – is having far-reaching impacts in many parts of Australia. “We’re supporting farmers that have no water coming out of their taps, farmers that have been hit by a double disaster of fire and drought, and rural communities that are feeling the pinch as cashflow has all but ceased in these shrinking economies.
“At the same time, we still have families who are struggling financially in cities and urban areas all across Australia who are facing a bleak Christmas. The Roy Morgan research also suggested that almost half (48%) of those surveyed said that Australians don’t do enough to help those in need at Christmas”.
“We have a very generous country but the need is great this Christmas. We can all play a significant part in making things better for people experiencing hardship. We rely on the support of generous Australians in order to give hope where it’s needed most this festive season.”
The Salvation Army is encouraging Australians to give to The Salvation Army’s Christmas Appeal, a gift of $29 will enable the Salvos to put food on the table and presents under the tree for Aussies in need.
The Roy Morgan poll found that more than 15 million Australians (76%) say connecting with family is what they like most about Christmas, yet 6 million Australians (32%) surveyed said they still feel pressured to spend more than they can afford during the festive season.
“We are urging Australians to make every effort not to go into debt over the Christmas period, and if people are struggling, to come and see us at the Salvos,” says Lauren Martin.
“More than ever, we need to get back to the true meaning of Christmas. The values of peace, joy and hope are what traditionally symbolises Christmas time and we need to remember to prioritise relationships. This can mean connecting with friends and family as well as your local community. It is so important at this time of the year to connect with each other.”
The Salvation Army assists 300,000 Australians each year at Christmas time, distributing over a million toys and gifts and serving more than 100,000 meals. “Financial stress and loneliness hit harder at times like Christmas, that’s why at The Salvation Army we hold hundreds of community meals, family-friendly Christmas events and services where people who are lonely can connect with us,” says Lauren Martin.
“Please don’t spend Christmas alone – come and spend it with us instead!”
You can find out ways to connect with The Salvation Army over Christmas at salvationarmy.org.au.
$29 will put food on the table and a present under the tree for those in need this Christmas.
To donate $29 and give hope where it’s needed most this Christmas, please visit salvationarmy.org.au or call 13 SALVOS (13 72 58).