New research released by The Salvation Army shows that more than eight million Australians believe Christmas is a ‘financial nightmare’.
The Roy Morgan poll also found approximately half a million children under 10 were likely to receive no presents this Christmas and that 852,000 people almost always felt lonely at Christmas.
The Salvation Army’s Major Paul Hateley said the research showed the deep level of hardship being experienced across the nation over the festive season. He urged the community to support the organisation’s Christmas appeal to provide desperately needed funds to support the tens of thousands of families in crisis.
‘Our biggest challenge at Christmas is finding ways to meet the needs of the huge number of people coming to us for care and assistance,’ he said.
‘This is one of our busiest times of the year and it is our mission to serve Australians in need, but we cannot do this without the support of the public.’
The Roy Morgan poll also found that over Christmas almost 530,000 people often got into more debt than they could comfortably afford to pay back, while a further 484,000 people revealed they almost always got into debt they couldn’t afford to pay back.
Major Hateley said 2.4 million Australians (equivalent to 13% of survey respondents) were worried about how they would pay for Christmas, with 611,000 Australians (3.3% of survey respondents) saying they would need to sell items to fund Christmas.
The research also found that 45% of respondents (equating to 8.6 million Australians) either buy way too much food or eat too much food at Christmas time.
‘When you compare that to nearly half of our clients who are forced to skip meals due to extreme financial hardship, the contrast is astounding,’ Major Hateley said.
‘In fact, 70% of survey respondents—which equates to a huge 13.2 million Australians— believe the gap between rich and poor has been getting bigger. Poverty has such a horrific effect on individuals and, sadly, for many of our clients, Christmas is a very isolating time.
‘By donating to The Salvation Army’s Christmas Appeal, you can give hope where it’s needed most by blessing families in crisis with a Christmas they could never afford to have.’
The Salvation Army expects to help 70,000 families across Australia in the weeks before Christmas and in the critical month afterwards.
The Salvation Army has a network of local churches around the nation offering a range of activities leading up to Christmas, including Christmas Carols events and community Christmas lunches for people who wish to connect at Christmas time.
To find out what’s happening at your local Salvos, visit salvationarmy.org.au/christmas.
To donate to The Salvation Army Christmas Appeal, please visit www.my.salvationarmy.org/donate or call 13 72 58 (13 SALVOS).