Salvation Army ‘seeing real increase in cost to support families’
A charity has increased the value of gift cards this Christmas owing to a rise in food prices.
The Salvation Army normally hands out grocery store vouchers for $50 but this year has raised the value to $75 as it sees “a real increase in the cost to support those families”.
The last inflation figures released by the Government showed that food prices surged in September, with the Consumer Price Index reporting an increase of more than 10 per cent year-on-year.
According to the charity’s divisional commander, Major Robert Kerr, prices have been the biggest challenge this year for the organisation’s yearly food and toy drive.
Despite the number of families in need not going up drastically, Major Kerr said: “We are seeing a real increase in the cost to support those families.
“It looks like we will have to spend an additional $50,000 this year on vouchers, compared to last year, just to provide that to people who have registered.
“Those who received $50 gift cards last year got $75 cards this year. That way they are still able to get a decent amount of groceries or something with the gift card. The majority of that increase is due to increased costs.”
Mr Kerr also believes that rising costs have had a negative affect on the number of donations this year.
He said: “People are tightening their purse strings these days and being a little more careful with their spending.
“I think that falls out to charitable donations as well; if folks do not feel that they have the money to share, they may not do that.”
Canned foods were some of the most popular donated items this year. Mr Kerr said these items are helpful because they can be given out weeks after the holidays.
He added that if people can afford to make charitable donations, they should do so and make the lives of the island’s less fortunate easier.
The charity, which has several donation kettles throughout the island for contributions, hopes to raise $55,000 this year to help needy families. The fundraising will continue until December 24.
“If people are able to walk by a kettle, drop a cheque in the mail or stop at our office to make a donation, it would go a long way in helping people in Bermuda, not just at Christmastime but all year long,” Mr Kerr said.
People can mail cheques to the charity at Post Office Box HM 2259, HM JX.