BENDIGO care agencies are reporting higher need for their services this Christmas than any other year, due to the economic climate.
Bendigo UnitingCare and the Salvation Army said their resources were being stretched in the lead-up to the festive season.
“Most definitely there are more people accessing our services this Christmas,” Bendigo UnitingCare’s personal assistant to the chief executive offficer, Christine Boxall, said.
“Things are more extreme than they have been before,” she said.
“The cost of everything has risen and it’s even affecting middle income (families).
“We’re finding a lot more people really struggling to keep up with their bills.”
Ms Boxall said the charity could do with extra support from the community.
“We really do need people to support us during this time so we can help others.
“We need more volunteers all the time.
“We’re also calling on the community for frozen and fresh food for the Foodbank.”
Salvation Army team leader community support services, Sharon Crimmins, agreed there had been more people using their services this festive season than in other years.
“It’s been very busy actually since mid-November,” she said.
“It probably has been harder for people this year. The need has increased for us.”
Ms Crimmins said Christmas time put added stress on not only families who were struggling to make ends meet.
“I think it puts more stress on families full stop, especially with everything else going on economically.”
Ms Crimmins said the Salvos had been well supported by businesses and the community.
“We’re really fortunate.
“We have the Kmart wishing tree toys coming in and had significant community donations.”