Families are worried about Christmas dinner as demand at Gainsborough food bank has 'soared'
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Three in five people in the East Midlands are worried about being able to afford Christmas dinner this year amid the cost-of-living crisis, according to a survey by The Salvation Army.
The survey of more than 2,000 UK adults carried out by Savanta Comres, on behalf of the church and charity, also found that out of those living in the East Midlands 22 per cent expect to use items from a food bank for their festive meal and 24 per cent cannot afford to give their children a Christmas present this year.
Major Colin Bradshaw, leader of The Salvation Army church at Gainsborough, said: “Christmas should be the season of joy, not sorrow.
"If people can’t even afford one of the most important meals of the year, it’s a red flag that they are falling into poverty. We have seen an unprecedented level of need at our churches and community centres in the East Midlands since the cost-of-living crisis hit, and demand at our food bank here in Gainsborough has soared.
"Most of those that come to us are either working in low-paid employment or are pension age. We often hear, ‘I can’t believe I’m at a food bank’ from those who have had to turn to us for the first time.
“Many of the older people that come to us never thought they would need our help and say they hope it will only be a temporary measure. Sadly, many feel ashamed, so we try to reassure them and make them feel comfortable asking and getting support.
“As long as help is needed, our Salvation Army officers and volunteers will continue to work on the frontline to help the most vulnerable not only survive the next few months but also have a happy and peaceful Christmas.”
The Christian church and charity’s Present Appeal is also giving gifts to children who would otherwise have nothing to open on Christmas Day.
And warm spaces are being offered in some Salvation Army churches to people who can’t afford to heat their homes and there will be support for rough sleepers, so they aren’t forced to spend a cold Christmas on the streets.
To donate to The Salvation Army’s Christmas Appeal visit www.salvationarmy.org.uk.