Helping locals in need this Christmas

Sharon Tolliday at the Salvation Army store in Penrith. Photo: Megan Dunn
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While many families will be sitting down to a Christmas breakfast and watching each other unwrap presents next Friday, other families in the local area will not be so fortunate.

The Salvation Army expects to help around 300,000 Australians doing it tough this Christmas, with around 100,000 food vouchers and hampers to be distributed and over 10,000 meals served to those in need.

Salvation Army Penrith Manager, Sharon Tolliday, said every year the needs of people just grow bigger.

“It’s absolutely devastating,” she said.

“It’s unbelievable how many families need help around this time of year. We get 10 to 15 calls in a day, and people are always coming in off the street.”

The Salvos will also hand out over 500,000 gifts and toys with the help of the Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal.

“Our store is extremely busy at this time of year with people looking for bargains and ways to save,” Ms Tolliday said.

A recent survey commissioned by The Salvation Army revealed that over 2.7 million people aged between 18 and 64 say they know at least five families who will experience financial hardship or poverty this festive season, with over one million revealing they know at least 10 families.

“We find over Christmas that a lot of welfare businesses and organisations close down, so to have some hampers to last people through the festive period would be really nice,” Ms Tolliday said.

“Canned goods and toys are always appreciated by these families and it’s as easy as leaving the hampers at the store with us.

“We are just asking people that are capable of helping out for the needy to come into the store and help us out where they can.”

To donate to the Salvation Army Christmas Appeal, visit or call 13 72 58 (13 SALVOS).

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