Dear Editor,

The challenge of financial hardship and social isolation at Christmas is more complex and challenging this year as The Salvation Army responds to the poverty in our cities and the devastating impact of a rolling bushfire crisis and the relentless grip the worst drought in living memory has on rural and regional Australia.

For farmers in drought affected areas, Christmas will be a day like most others, with conditions restricting them from taking a day off. There won’t be much to stop for anyway, with many families in severe financial need.

Fire-fighters across Australia but particularly throughout New South Wales and parts of Queensland, will spend Christmas fighting out-of-control bushfires. Some people living in bushfire affected areas still won’t have access to their homes.

Many in our cities and towns will be alone on Christmas Day, with family breakdown and social isolation leading to loneliness and despair.

Christmas is the busiest time of the year for The Salvation Army. We distribute half a million gifts and toys, assist 300,000 people and serve more than 100,000 meals. We’ll also be active in evacuation centres in fire-affected areas, and in distributing drought relief and Christmas-Cheer in rural and regional areas affected by drought.

It is our privilege to bring joy and hope at this time of year to families and individuals experiencing hardship and despair. But we can only do it with the help of generous Australians who support us, to support others.

This Christmas, let’s remember those doing it tough.

By donating just $29 to The Salvation Army’s Christmas Appeal, you can help put a present under the tree and food on the table, bringing hope where it’s needed most for someone in need of a hand up.

So please visit salvationamry.org.au or call 13 72 58.