Referrals increase for Christmas appeal with fears they might not meet demand
- Credit: The Salvation Army
Referrals for a charity's Christmas appeal are on the rise and there are fears there will not be enough to meet demand.
The Salvation Army’s toys and tins appeal has seen a 37pc increase in referrals for vulnerable children from social services, schools and support groups with more expected before December.
Each year, people donate gifts so families do not go without at Christmas.
Parcels of toys and food are packed up and handed out by the charity’s volunteers.
Last year, they received 2,261 initial requests to help children, rising to 2,994 by the end of the appeal.
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This year it’s up to 3,106, with that figure expected to rise.
The organisers have already packed 1,400 food boxes, but now attention turns to presents as they are concerned that they will not have enough to meet demand.
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Coordinator of the county-wide appeal, Major Barry Willson believes there is a number of reasons behind the increase: “Children who benefit from the appeal have parents or carers who have been struggling to make ends meet and now have to make difficult decisions between buying food, paying household bills and affording the cost of Christmas.
“Many are on furlough, have low income, have been made redundant or cannot work because of poor health.
“We are determined to bring the hope and joy of Christmas to families in need across Norfolk.
“We need the help of the great Norfolk public to ensure children don’t miss out on a present to open on Christmas Day.”
Packing for the appeal started two weeks earlier than usual, as social distancing measures require them to work in smaller groups.
Teenagers and young adults from Salvation Army churches have also stepped in to cover evening shifts as many older volunteers continue to shield.
Anyone wishing to donate anything from soft and educational toys for younger children, to gift vouchers and toiletries for teenagers are encouraged to donate online via a JustGiving page and Amazon Wish List.
If you wish to make the donation in person, you are asked to contact your nearest Salvation Army as many centres have had to close due to the pandemic.
Those wishing to support the appeal should visit the Toys & Tins Appeal webpage for further information and links to a JustGiving page and Amazon Wish List: https://www.salvationarmy.org.uk/toysandtins