Salvation Army seeks help in Hamilton
The cost of living in New Zealand is the cause of a new wave of poverty, the Salvation Army says.
Last year, the Salvation Army saw 18 new families every week in Hamilton needing help with the basics of life.
Nationally, need has risen to levels not seen since the recession, raising alarm and putting strain on the ability to keep up with demand as the organisation seeks public support for its annual Red Shield Appeal this week, it says.
“It’s fast becoming a national crisis,” says Salvation Army head of welfare services Major Pam Waugh.
Rents, petrol prices and basic food costs continue to rise, with those with the most pressing needs worst affected, says Hamilton Salvation Army officer Captain Jenny Collings.
In 2017, 70 per cent of Hamilton people requesting help with basics were coming to The Salvation Army for the first time or the first time in a long time — an average of 18 families a week.
These families are part of the 120,000 New Zealanders The Salvation Army helps every year.
Major Waugh says there are misconceptions about people living in poverty in this country — that they are all on benefits, have large families and are often solo parents — but the statistics disprove this.
“In 40 per cent of families in poverty in New Zealand, at least one person is in full time employment.”
The Salvation Army is asking people in Waikato to join it in helping to end poverty for these families by supporting its annual Red Shield Appeal.
“We see these people, we hear their stories and we help them to make meaningful change. Giving to the Red Shield Appeal is a way to directly help these families thrive,” Major Waugh says.
■ To support The Salvation Army Red Shield Appeal give to a Salvation Army street collector this week or visit salvationarmy.org.nz