Once again The Salvation Army helped over 5200 people in need in Norfolk this Christmas; this is purely thanks to the generous support of locals who donated enough food and presents to save the Christmas of 2878 children and their parents this year.
In order to receive a goodwill parcel, families must be referred by social workers, schools, and other charities, but families in need can also contact The Salvation Army directly for assistance.
The economy has not been kind for several years now and many people are stuck in circumstances where their ends simply don’t meet. Commenting on the situation, Major Derek Jones, leader of Norfolk Salvation Army, said, “We are seeing the debilitating effects of poverty on families on a daily basis. This Christmas, when many are spending money on parties and presents, there will be thousands of people in our country who are struggling to meet basic costs such as food and heating.”
He added, “As a community-focused church and charity, The Salvation Army is uniquely able to help some of the most vulnerable and hardest to reach families in Norfolk thanks to our year-round support services and contact with social workers and schools.”
Major Jones emphasised the church’s gratitude to Norfolk residents who continue to give generously to ensure that vulnerable households have something to celebrate come Christmas.
Of course, The Salvation Army offers support to families throughout the year, so while Christmas brings out the community spirit in locals, it’s important to hold onto seasonal generosity and demonstrate it all year long.
People can show their ongoing support at any of the 15 churches and community centres in Norfolk that provide emotional, social, and psychological support, as well as practical assistance to people who want to re-enter society as productive, constructive members.
Carol McKean, community manager at Sheringham Salvation Army, said, “The Christmas story inspires us to provide something special for families in need at this time of year, but we know families need more than toys and food at Christmas. Our doors are open throughout the year and we’re doing all we can to help people in financial difficulty, but we need to see longer-term solutions to help the most vulnerable.”
Carol is a qualified social worker and is ideally situated to help vulnerable members of the Sheringham community. Part of her job includes practical help completing benefit forms and liaising with social services on behalf of people and families. In the nearly two years that she has worked for the Sheringham Salvation Army she has helped over 120 people with a wide range of problems.
According to Carol, “People rely on us for emergency food parcels and utility top-ups when their finances have been pushed to the limit, with many facing debt because of the five-week wait for Universal Credit payments. The Salvation Army across the country is calling for an end to this dangerous delay.”
She added, “Families come to us saying they are worried about putting on the heating or that they’ve had to choose between paying bills and buying their children new shoes. Many of the families we support who are on limited income are facing multiple challenges at once such as unemployment due to seasonal work drying up, ill health, caring for a loved one, relationship breakdown, or bereavement.”
One of the reasons The Salvation Army is so successful is its policy to treat and respect every person as an individual. Help is specific to each person and each person’s circumstances. Community support is essential to ensure ongoing assistance to all who need it.
Carol said, “We know that treating each person as an individual is the key to making a difference in people’s lives and thanks to the support we receive from the community, we are able to give people the personalised help they need.”
If you missed the Toys & Tins Appeal last year, mark it down on your calendar for the end of this year, and don’t forget that regular support will be much appreciated and make a marked difference to the life of someone in need.
For more information about the Toys & Tins Appeal, please visit @toysandtinsappeal on Facebook.