The impact the economic downturn is having on some families has been laid bare.
As the Salvation Army launched its annual Christmas Toys Appeal – to help families struggling to provide presents – captains Simon and Carolyn Clampton revealed there is greater pressure on the overall project than ever before.
While the charity experiences a greater demand for its services around Christmas, it’s clear for some households that 2013 has been a struggle – full stop.
Carolyn said: ‘While Christmas is the time of year we experience the greatest demand for help and assistance, it must not be overlooked that the Salvation Army provides help to the most vulnerable and needy people in the island throughout the year.
‘So far in 2013 we have experienced a greater demand than ever before for many of the basics in life with nearly a two-fold increase on this time last year.
‘This support includes helping those struggling to meet heating costs, as well as providing help towards purchasing school uniforms, essential furniture and household goods – in addition to food.’
The names of families in need of help are referred to The Salvation Army by health and social care agencies.
Last year around 500 toys were distributed at Christmas together with 1,900 gifts of food parcels and vouchers, the latter coming courtesy of Shoprite. Each year the number of parcels and vouchers required rises by around 300 as the economic downturn continues to affect local families.
The Salvation Army’s annual Christmas Toys Appeal is a joint venture between charity and the Isle of Man Bank.
Members of the public are asked to buy an extra present and take it, unwrapped, to any branch of Isle of Man Bank before the end of November where it will be collected by volunteers and taken to the Citadel.
The toys will then be distributed to children whose parents are unable to afford presents for Christmas.