The Salvation Army is hoping to raise $20 million across the country this year through its annual Christmas Appeal that supports Australians doing it tough during the festive season.
As Australians near the end of a second year that has been impacted by social and economic burden of COVID-19, the Salvos anticipate the needs of Australians at Christmas will reach a new peak under the pressure of the pandemic.
"Christmas is the busiest time of the year for the Salvos across the country, and we expect this year to be no different," said Major Wendy-Sue Swann from the Cessnock Corps.
"While Christmas is a time of joy and celebration for many, others doing it tough in our community find it an extremely difficult period for them personally.
"The increased isolation, financial stress and mental health impacts of COVID-19 this year will only exacerbate these issues.
"The Salvos want to leave no one in need this Christmas, and we need the generosity of the public this year to once again partner with us in support of locals doing it really tough."
Major Swann said anyone in need this Christmas can reach out to the Salvation Army at 14 Hall Street, Cessnock, or by calling 4991 2063 on Mondays between 9am and 12pm.
"We don't want anyone to go it alone this year. If you need food, gifts, financial support or are feeling lonely, please get in touch with us," Major Swann said.
The Salvos are also seeking donations from the community towards the Christmas appeal.
Toys and non-perishable food can be dropped off at the Salvation Army Family Store (100 Vincent Street) on weekdays from 9am-2pm or 14 Hall Street on Mondays from 9am to noon.
Financial donations can be made at salvationarmy.org.au or by calling 13 SALVOS (13 72 58).