by Aden Stokes
WITH only three weeks until Christmas, the Salvation Army is hoping to provide a small miracle for more than 40 Central Highlands families.
Captain Lenore Whittaker said Christmas was a tough time of the year on the family budget, with extra bills for preparing for school costs, special festive meals and holiday activities for children added to the everyday cost of living.
"We've been interviewing people that need help this Christmas but there is room for more,” Capt Whittaker said.
"We have had a number of people coming through our doors, families with children and single mums.
"They receive a gift card for food. If they are a single mum, they receive a personal gift card and also receive toys for each one their children.
"In the back room we have prepared hundreds of toys and put them on display. In the last week hundreds of mums have been coming in to pick and choose toys for their children.
"This will remain open for a few days more, until December 13.”
Capt Whittaker said the Salvation Army was an important part of the local community but perhaps wasn't always front and centre in people's minds.
"We've been out more this year promoting our services and Christmas is a time when folk may need help, but aren't really sure where to go or who to contact,” she said.
"Certainly people are experiencing hardship all over the country but it's often more keenly felt in rural communities where there's limited employment.
"I want everyone to know that the Salvation Army is here in the Central Highlands and we're willing and able to stand by anyone and give hope where it's needed most.”