The local Salvation Army says it is seeking to raise $750,000 this year to be able to meet the day-to-day demands of indigent Barbadians, particularly during the Christmas period.
However, two officials today expressed concern that amid the worsening domestic economic situation, the charitable organization was getting “less and less” revenue through its annual kettle appeal, while the demands by Barbadians for assistance were getting “greater and greater”.
“We are looking forward to raising $750,000 this year,” Community Relations Officer Major Denzil Walcott told reporters at this morning’s launch in Jubilee Gardens, The City, while stating that the Salvation Army was hoping to render assistance to more than the 44,000 people it fed last year.
“More persons have been coming to us. We don’t turn anyone away when they come for the food. What we do [is] to encourage them to register at the Welfare Office so that they have an idea of the persons coming to us,” Walcott said, adding that it was becoming increasingly difficult to respond to the rising demands for assistance.
Chairman of the Advisory Board Paul Bernstein said he too was concerned that while the Salvation Army was “getting less and less revenue through the kettle appeal . . . the demand [for assistance] is getting greater and greater”.
However, he said though things were tight in the country economically, there were still those who were willing to contribute to the charitable cause.
“We have confidence that even though things are tight they are still people who still give us. The kettle launch and the letters that we send out are responsible for up to 80 per cent of our revenue for this year.
“If that falls then we are in dire straits,” he said, while highlighting recent tax increases announced by Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler in his May Budget.
“The situation is that with the [recent] increase of the taxes, the National Social Responsibility Levy and the two per cent foreign exchange [levy], obviously it is going to be hard for the merchants to bring in [items],” the former Bridgetown merchant said, while suggesting that it was not all doom and gloom.
Bernstein, who is a member of the local Chamber of Commerce, also expressed confidence that the island would be able to weather the current economic situation.