IT’S the other side of Christmas we don’t often see – or choose not to.
At a time when many of us can get caught up in the hijinx of Christmas – buying too much, overeating and drinking, and indulging on everything we don’t need – is the same time that others can feel at their worst.
Most of us are fortunate enough to have the means to enjoy Christmas, whether it’s sharing a meal with our loved ones or saving enough money to buy the present for someone that they’ve so long wanted.
But for others, it’s a far different reality.
Some will spend it alone.
Some with no family or friends.
Some won’t be able to share a meal with someone, let alone scrape together enough money to buy their own child a toy.
It’s a reality that is, sadly, on the rise in Tamworth.
The Tamworth Salvation Army will hand out toy hampers to the more than 250 families who registered for the organisation’s Christmas Cheer this year.
That equates to about 600 kids – a 30 per cent increase on last year.
So high has the demand been for these hampers that the Tamworth branch has been forced to turn to branches as far away as Newcastle and Sydney for assistance.
Thankfully, they’ve responded by the truckload.
It’s not just demand for toys that is on the rise in our region, but also food on the table – and someone to share it with.
More than 200 people have registered for Tamworth Salvation Army’s Christmas lunch this Wednesday.
Not only is it for those struggling to provide a meal, but it’s also for those who want a sense of community.
It’s not just a need for assistance, but a need for people to connect.
As the Tamworth Salvos captain puts it, it’s often older single people, who may have lost a husband or wife, who are falling through the gaps.
It’s difficult to ascertain whether demand is on the rise or if people are more willing to ask and accept help than they have been in the past. Either way, Christmas is a timely reminder that we should ask others if they are okay, or if they need help. And a time when those in need should not be ashamed if they need an extra hand.
Organisations like the Salvos remind us of the true meaning of Christmas.
To find out how you can help, or if you need help, visit salvos.org.au