Welfare line getting longer
CHARITIES across the region are having their busiest Christmas in recent years, as a huge influx of people needing help has pushed them to the limit.
Salvation Army spokeswoman Janette Young said more than $14,000 was given out to families in welfare and more than $7000 worth of toys this month, reinforcing the need for community donations.
Mrs Young said the charity had been prepared for the huge influx.
"We knew Christmas was going to be problem for a lot of people," she said.
More than 100 food hampers have been supplied to needy families this month - and about 80 of them were handed out in one day alone.
Mrs Young said this year had been incredibly tough for a number of people.
"We are seeing people who have never needed to ask for help before," she said.
Over the year, the Bundaberg Salvation Army exceeded its budget by 83% - meaning the total amount of welfare given out had almost doubled this year.
Mrs Young said after the floods in January, the need for assistance in the region shot up.
"It actually has not slowed at all since then," she said.
St Vincent de Paul Childers treasurer Irene Reilly said the festive season had also been extremely busy for them.
Mrs Reilly said donations had slowed a little this year compared to last year.
"We have a shop which we use the funds from to help people out," she said.
"With that we were able to make sure that no one went without this Christmas."
Mrs Reilly said those who had donated had been as generous as they were able to be.