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PRESSURE ON SALVOS | The West Australian

The local Salvation Army is almost at crisis point, with twice as many people seeking emergency relief support, but no additional funds or resources to accommodate the increase.

The Kalgoorlie-Boulder Corps has revealed it is struggling to cope with an influx of people seeking assistance after several other agencies in the city stopped providing emergency relief assistance with food and bills.

With only 16 emergency relief appointments available each week and no additional staff or funding, the Salvos is having to turn away twice as many people, and have also had to cut the financial support they are able to provide each client.

Where they used to be able to pay a whole power bill or one week’s rent for those in need, they are now only in a position to pay a portion of these bills.

Lieutenant Jodie Jones said the charity was looking at ways to increase its funding for the services, but until then it would have to make do with what it had.

“Not only are we seeing more and more new people reach out for help, but people who used to come to our service for help one week, and another for the following week, now only have us to rely on, so we are seeing them more frequently,” she said. “We can’t always help financially, but if people come to us needing food, we will always give them a meal for each member of their family, no matter what.”

With demand high and food scarce, the Salvos are calling for the community to give them a helping hand.

The Salvos is supported through the SecondBite program, which sees leftover food from Coles donated to the charity twice a week for meals for those in need and its weekly Friday community lunches.

With Sunday trading now taking off in the city, meaning an additional day for locals to snatch up food, Lt Jones said at first she was concerned it would impact the amount of food provided through SecondBite.

“However, I don’t think it has. I think what has affected the donation supply is simply the number of people coming to our service has doubled,” she said. “What would usually last three hours or a day is now only lasting half an hour.

“On Thursday, I put out some fresh fruit and it was all gone in 10 minutes.”

Lt Jones thanked the various local businesses who were often donating to help fill the gaps. Anyone wanting to support the Salvos can donate money directly to the emergency relief assistance program or meals assistance through the Oberthur Street office.

Donations of non-perishable food items are also welcomed, as well as any new volunteers to help take the pressure off the team.

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