Financial crisis ‘more real’ at Christmas time, says Larne charity

Pictured with Pauline Brown, regional manager, of St Vincent de Paul in Northern Ireland at the launch of the 35th annual "Family Appeal"  is Major Elwyn Harries, leader of the Salvation Army in Ireland. INNT 49-473-CON
Pictured with Pauline Brown, regional manager, of St Vincent de Paul in Northern Ireland at the launch of the 35th annual "Family Appeal" is Major Elwyn Harries, leader of the Salvation Army in Ireland. INNT 49-473-CON

Two charities have teamed up once again to make Christmas brighter for children and families in the borough and across Northern Ireland.

The Salvation Army and St. Vincent dePaul have launched their 35th annual Christmas appeal.

Last year’s appeal distributed more than 30,000 gifts across the province.

In Larne, Captain Sue Whitla, of The Salvation Army, said that she expects more people than ever to apply for help due to financial difficulties.

She said: “Many are really struggling, and, at Christmas, this struggle becomes even more real and difficult to deal with.

“Depression, anxiety and feelings of isolation can leave people feeling very overwhelmed. To be able to bring some sort of comfort, encouragement and to share Christian love is a great opportunity.

“We are indebted to everyone who has and will support us again this year. We cannot run this appeal without the support of the community and we are truly grateful for all they have, and believe, they will continue to do so.”

Pauline Brown, of St. Vincent dePaul Northern Ireland, added: “Ideally, we would love for the need for the Family Appeal to be diminishing, but unfortunately, the reality is that due to the continuing harsh financial climate, the appeal is getting larger as more and more families struggle to make ends meet. We’re so grateful that the ever-giving public and business community have continued to step up to the mark.

“The aim of the Family Appeal is to ensure that no child goes without a gift on Christmas morning .”

Gift donations can be made at The Salvation Army Church or charity shop or to St. Vincent dePaul NI; the Larne branch of Specsavers or Danske Bank. All gifts must be new and unwrapped and suitable for children or teenagers.

Those eligible for support from the Family Appeal should contact Captain Whitla for guidance notes and an application form.

The Salvation Army hall is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, from 10.00 am until 1.00 pm.