After more than 55 years of knocking on doors every May the Salvation Army is changing the way it raises funds during the 2020 Red Shield Appeal,
COVID-19 may be preventing the traditional doorknock from taking place but the Salvos have still set a target of $8 million this weekend and more than $35 million by June 30.
The Salvo's know Australians are facing an economic and social crisis like no other. And that means the provision of hardship support on an unprecedented scale.
Illawarra community, fundraising and public relations coordinator Karen Walker saids the Salvation Army anticipates 2020 will see the greatest need in its 140-year history of service to communities around Australia. Particularly when government funding ceases in the coming months.
"The Covid-19 crisis has financially crippled many Australians and it will take months to see the real impact it will have," she said.
"The last few weeks we have given out assistance well over budget consistently. We have had community members reach out who have never received assistance before and feel quite embarrassed to do so but have run out of savings and we are their last resort.
"We have been delivering packages to those who have needed to isolate. Many in our community have not had the support required to cope with COVID 19 and the necessary response.
"We have witnessed increased loneliness, anxiety, a loss of a sense of belonging and people feeling less empowered to be able to live full lives.
"We are concerned about the worsening of mental health for so many of our community members and know that the need is going to continue to increase in the months ahead."
The money raised from this weekend's Red Shield Appeal Digital Doorknock will help fund vital services The Salvation Army provides across Australia.
During the last year that has involved the Salvo's provided more than one million sessions of care to Australians in need; helped 46,000 people experiencing homelessness, provided financial counselling to more than 65,000, offered care to 13,000 people who were coping with family violence and served 500,000 meals and refreshments to first responders and displaced people during the recent Bushfire crisis.
Each year, Australian businesses play an essential role in the Salvo's work by generously supporting the Red Shield Appeal. This year the fundraising has been kickstarted by Westpac, Woolworths and Chemist Warehouse.
Ms Walker said despite no lunch this year the annual Business Appeal leading up to this weekend was still going ahead
And the Salvation Army is asking any business that can still give to do so https://digitaldoorknock.salvationarmy.org.au;/t/illawarra-red-shield-appeal.
Ms Walker said the Salvo's know there will be a great deal of need to come and by supporting this weekends fundraising online Australians can ensure no one has to go it alone.
"To those who can support this year's Appeal, we thank you very much", she said.
Donations can be made at salvationarmy.org.au, on 13 SALVOS (13 72 58) or by using the donation button at Woolworths checkouts.
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