Community & Business

10 May, 2024

Cost of living crisis forces more to access Salvos help

NEW research by the Salvation Army of Australia’s most vulnerable have revealed that 94% of respondents are struggling to afford essentials and 63% are skipping meals.

Salvo volunteers Gary Catford, Carmen Heidke and Jackie Whalley are urging locals to get behind the Red Shield Appeal.
Salvo volunteers Gary Catford, Carmen Heidke and Jackie Whalley are urging locals to get behind the Red Shield Appeal.

The findings came as the Salvos launched the 60th Red Shield Appeal last week, with the need for its services and support greater than ever before. 

The new research has highlighted the depths of the cost-of-living crisis, with 94% of respondents saying they are struggling to afford housing, groceries, medical care and utilities.

Sixty-three per cent of respondents had skipped meals and 45% had to choose between paying for housing or buying food. Shockingly, the research also found over 1 in 4 (27%) of respondents were forced to consume expired or spoiled food, while 1 in 20 had to eat food from rubbish bins.

The research surveyed 1,500 people who had reached out to the Salvos Doorways financial relief service over a 12-month period. It showed 61% of respondents could not afford to pay their utility bills on time, more than six times the national average of 10%.

A 33-year-old mother who accessed support, said: “(I’m) having to constantly borrow money off friends due to not being able to buy essentials. I’m having to go days without eating so my kids can eat, cancelling specialist appointments that are a requirement for my health due to the cost of living.”

Salvation Army Major Brendan Nottle said the numbers were frightening.

“In a lucky country like Australia, individuals and families shouldn’t have to make these sorts of decisions, like choosing whether to eat, pay rent or send your kids to the doctor,” he said.

“But these are the people the Salvos help every day as we try to give a new beginning to those struggling in our community.”

The Red Shield Appeal aims to raise $38 million, enabling Salvos to support Australians doing it tough in communities around the country.

“This is why the Red Shield Appeal is so important. Our research found 92% of respondents said they would not have managed without the help they received from The Salvation Army,” Major Nottle said.

“Behind every one of these stats are real people and they can all be profoundly impacted by the support of The Salvation Army with your help.”

Anyone wishing to donate can do so by visiting or calling 13 SALVOS. You can also donate at the Tolga Salvation Army Family Store.


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