Demand rises from struggling families for church hampers

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A SALVATION Army branch says it has seen a big increase in demand for the hampers and toys it provides for struggling families this Christmas.

Major Andrew Dunkinson, of the Salvation Army citadel in York, said he had seen referrals from social services and voluntary groups rise 25 per cent on last year for food and 30 per cent for toys.

This week his team will distribute 200 parcels to families and other people in difficulty in the city.

He said: “We really have been inundated by referrals from statutory and voluntary bodies.

“With austerity measures kicking in and everything, people just don’t seem to have so much this year. There’s a lot of people struggling.

“If it’s happening in York, I’m sure it must be happening around the country.”

Maj Dunkinson said he was having to make difficult decisions about things like which family would get the limited number of turkeys which are donated each year.

But he said he continued to be cheered by the generosity of the public.

He said: “We’ve had schools donate, prisoners in the local prison too. The public really are so generous.”

Maj Dunkinson said the hampers include food to cover the Christmas period, including seasonal extras like puddings and other treats.

He said he and his wife Sheila would be buying more toys later this week to keep up with demand.