The Salvation Army is launching its first ever winter appeal ahead of one of their busiest times of the year.
The Salvation Army is typically approached by 55,000 people over the winter period each year and distribute 14,100 food parcels to families.
Head of social services Major Pam Waugh says, “In winter, people’s needs are worsened by the additional costs of seasonal illnesses, cold homes, inadequate bedding and clothing, and compounded by overcrowded and substandard living conditions. Parents are trying hard, but many cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel, only despair.
In response to this reality, we have launched a winter appeal, with funds raised helping meet seasonal demand for the basics of food, warmth, and shelter.”
As the coldest months approach, Salvation Army social service staff are noticing the following:
- Client families using pay-as-you-go electricity payment schemes going without lighting or hot water for several days or longer periods
- Heating the home is no longer considered a priority by many parents, leading to cold-related illnesses
- More time being spent negotiating with clients’ creditors to avoid power disconnections or eviction
- Some families are so impoverished they have no warm clothes or bedding
- Many clients can no longer afford public transport to collect food parcels or visit the doctor
- Doctors’ fees, transport costs, and pharmaceutical co-payments prohibit parents seeking medical care for their children and themselves until it becomes a medical emergency. Some won’t approach a practice because they owe money or credit is not provided.
- Overcrowding and homelessness increases unabated in some areas
In response, some centres are intensifying home visits, which often reveal disturbing levels of overcrowding and physical illness, with clients showing worrying degrees of anxiety and depression.
The Salvation Army ais launching their winter appeal on July 18 and are hopeful New Zealanders will donate knowing winter is harder for those already in need.