The annual Red Shield appeal has launched this week and The Salvation Army is expecting to be in high demand yet again to support Kiwi families in need.
On average, the Army says they support 120,000 each year by providing basic need items and other essential services.
This year though, they are calling for even more public support and donations.
The number of Kiwis needing help is "alarming" says Jono Bell, Head of The Salvation Army's Community Ministries.
"That is one in 40 New Zealanders. It’s astounding if you think of a packed stadium filled three times over with the number of Kiwis who are asking for help with adequate housing, food and other essentials to get by. This is what we see on the frontline consistently every year.”
Providing more families with valuable life skills is where The Salvation Army believes the end to poverty lies.
"It takes time and support to break the cycle of poverty. Every hungry person who comes through our doors for a food parcel would benefit from longer-term help - budgeting sessions, social work or counselling.
"We supported 7,095 families in 2018 with social work, and if we had the resources we could help many more."
2018 by the numbers:
Jono says, “We’ve seen families make great strides with our budgeting sessions. We helped 5694 families with budgeting last year. It’s these tools that people need to set them up for life.”
The Salvation Army provided 59,828 food parcels in 2018, an average of two parcels per family. In addition to this, 12,507 meals were served in the community kitchen.
“Unfortunately, the reality is that for many of these people we can only offer immediate support which, while important, doesn’t get to the root of the problem,” says Jono.
More information can be found via salvationarmy.org.nz/redshield.