Helping those in need at Christmas time

145136'Lt Lorna Weston with volunteers at the Salvation Army citadel getting ready for their annual Christmas Day meal and gift handover'Picture by Neil Silk'19/12/14
145136'Lt Lorna Weston with volunteers at the Salvation Army citadel getting ready for their annual Christmas Day meal and gift handover'Picture by Neil Silk'19/12/14
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The Salvation Army in Scarborough has been putting preparations in place to make sure people who may find themselves in need at Christmas are cared for.

The church organises regular get-togethers and meals over the Christmas period each year to make sure people are not alone.

Last Thursday, a Christmas lunch was held for homeless people who attend a regular drop-in session every Thursday night.

The church is also supporting 22 families with Christmas food hampers and toys, which will be delivered on Christmas Eve.

A lunch is being held at the citadel in Alma Parade on Christmas Day for 25 older people who might have otherwise fond themselves on their own.

The church is also opening its doors on the Saturday after Christmas for people who are supported through other agencies which may be closed over the festive period.

These may include people with mental health issues or drug and alcohol dependency.

Lieutenant Richard Weston said: “Over the Christmas period we will be supporting around 200 people with meals and food parcels.

“People have been very generous throughout the year, providing donations or food and toys.

“We are finding that more people than ever are having to rely on food banks. It’s not just people who are unemployed - it can be families who are working and struggling to pay the bills.

“Things can become very difficult for people, especially at this time of year.”

Richard added that the Salvation Army has been inundated with people offering to volunteer over the Christmas period.

He said: “It’s a real community effort. We’ve got 14 people coming in to help on Christmas Day and a whole team of people coming in on Christmas Eve to prepare the food hampers and the vegetables for Christmas lunch.

“It’s a busy time of year but it’s very worthwhile. People are so grateful that somebody wants to help and care for them, especially those who spend Christmas on their own.

“It’s also so nice for the children - you can picture their faces on Christmas morning having a present to open when they might not have had one.”

Richard said the real care and generosity comes from the community and that the Salvation Army is just a way of funnelling that care to where it need to be.

He added: “In many ways we are a bit of a hub for things coming in from all parts of the community.”

The events and services The Salvation Army offers are based on the needs of the local community.

Some churches may offer emergency support to those who are in need with others offering continuous support to those who feel marginalised. Whatever the need, the organisation is there for everyone.

People can help and get involved by fundraising or donating items that can be given to people in need, such as food, warm clothing and bedding.

Many people find themselves alone and struggling at Christmas and by getting involved in supporting The Salvation Army, you can make a real difference to people who need a helping hand.

• The Salvation Army’s Christmas morning service will be held at 10.30am.