Christmas and the ‘Chocolate Factory’
Put yourself in Charlie Bucket’s shoes.
You found a Golden Ticket in a Wonka bar and now you’re standing on the steps as the chocolate factory door swings open.
That’s what Christmas should feel like, says Salvation Army worker Bridget Lauder.
Of course, Lauder means for that feeling of sheer joy, not the chocolate. Although, the chocolate might help.
Registered social worker Bridget Lauder said Christmas was the busiest time of year for the Salvation Army, with ‘‘massive’’ demand for food parcels.
Lauder said the Sallies were seeing more families on two incomes struggling to make ends meet and looking for help.
The packages usually lasted about a week and included items such as bread, meat, canned food and toilet paper.
Unfortunately, not everyone got that feeling of joy at Christmas, like the children from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
The Salvation Army’s 2017 State of the Nation Report showed the demand for food parcels in the South Island grew by 4 per cent to 14,400 parcels between 2015 to 2016.
This festive season more than 17,000 families across New Zealand were expected to seek help from the Salvation Army for food, budgeting, education, accommodation and counselling.
While more people sought help for food packages around Christmas time, Lauder said the army’s role wasn’t just about providing food assistance.
They were also about giving gifts and bringing cheer to families.
A Salvation Army initiative called Operation for Kids last week in Marlborough gave families in need the chance to choose some Christmas gifts for their children.
Social service agencies in the region were each able to nominate 10 families, benefiting close to 300 Marlborough children.
The Salvation Army was not the only agency to see a demand for assistance.
Crossroads Marlborough Charitable Trust co-ordinator Janette Walker said there was a ‘‘relentless’’ demand for help, particularly for emergency accommodation.
Walker said there were a lot of families coming to her for assistance and it had been unwavering over the last two years.
Hundreds of volunteers hit the streets last month in a bid to fill the shelves at the Marlborough Community Food Bank.
Marlborough Community Food Bank manager Wynnie Cosgrove said an ‘‘avalanche of food’’ flooded in, filling up the empty shelves. About 30 per cent more food (cans and non-perishable items) was raised at this year’s food haul than last year, which meant more families would receive help this Christmas.
Salvation Army registered social worker Bridget Lauder says there is ‘‘massive’’ demand for food parcels at Christmas.