Every year, the local Salvation Army corps launches a Christmas Appeal to provide toys and food hampers to families who need a little extra help at this time of year.
They receive referrals from partner agencies, such as Cyfannol Women’s Aid, Mind, Monmouthshire Health Visitors, local schools and others.
Last year, food hampers were provided to 117 households and over 140 children received gifts.
This year, many more people find themselves struggling due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Salvation Army has already received referrals to provide for over 150 households and 250 children - a record number in Abergavenny.
Speaking about this year’s appeal, Abergavenny Corps co-leader, Lieutenant Jenni Pryor, explained that The Army will be providing vouchers to families this year, instead of giving out pre-made hampers and toys purchased with money donated by local people.
“The pandemic has forced us to do things differently this year. We have worked closely with our partner agencies to adapt our approach and make sure we protect everyone involved. Though this decision was forced upon us in some respects, we are excited to be able to offer our recipients more independence over their food hampers and the gifts they purchase for their children.”
One Abergavenny-based Health Visitor described the difference The Army’s efforts made to their clients in the local community.
“The families who are supported by the Salvation Army at Christmas are those who have a very limited budget and can struggle to meet their financial demands each month. Parents want to provide a little extra for their children at this time and the Salvation Army’s food and children’s gift makes this a little easier.”
A ‘Just Giving’ page has been set-up by The Salvation Army to allow people to make donations online towards this year’s appeal. A £15 donation will provide a gift for a child while £30 will cover the equivalent cost of a festive food hamper for a large family.
Commenting on their fundraising efforts, Lieutenant Jenni voiced her concern that the pandemic might make it harder to raise the money needed this year.
“The Salvation Army band and collectors are a familiar sight on the high street and in local supermarkets in the run-up to Christmas. Although we really enjoy this aspect of our ministry, we don’t yet know whether it will be possible in 2020. That is why we have given people the option of making a donation online this year. We are so very grateful for the support of local people, without which our work would be impossible.”