Abergavenny Salvation Army is asking people to ‘Be a Star’ by donating to their 2021 Christmas Appeal.

The church and charity have once again received a record amount of referrals from local partner agencies.

This year, they have been called upon to support 227 families with food and 434 children with gifts (up from 171 and 315 respectively in 2020).

These numbers could still rise in the days before Christmas.

Although they have historically provided food hampers and toy parcels, The Salvation Army have decided to stick with the voucher system they introduced last year as a result of the pandemic.

Commenting on this decision, Lieutenant Nick Pryor said that the added expense of the voucher system had been something of a risk during the pandemic, and even more so this year with so many additional referrals.

‘We had thought that the numbers may have been inflated by the pandemic a little last year so to receive such a substantial increase in referrals once again is really quite astounding.

‘‘We were blown away by the way the community stepped-up to support our appeal last year and we are praying that people will be just as generous in 2021.’

Explaining the thinking behind sticking with a voucher system, Lt. Nick understood that some people might feel sad at not being invited to buy a toy for a child or donate items of food for a struggling family.

‘‘‘It certainly feels less personal.

‘‘However, by sacrificing our own joy in buying gifts and food, we allow the recipients of our vouchers to experience it for themselves as they choose gifts that their children really want and food for their own Christmas dinner.

‘‘In other words - we give the gift of empowerment alongside our monetary donation.

‘‘The stories we heard from our agency partners last year showed us how much this was valued We grieve that there are so many people in our town that need this help, but we thank God for bringing them to us and giving us the ability to support, empower and bless them at this holy time of year.’

Donations to the Salvation Army can be made online at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/AbergavennySA or through the post to The Salvation Army, Victoria St, Abergavenny, NP7 7DL.