Sal­va­tion Army seeks help in Hamil­ton

Hamilton News - - Front Page -

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

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