The Salvation Army has increased its back-to-school donations so that more families could benefit.
This year, 100 persons benefited from the programme, 20 more than last year.
Divisional Business Manager Sherma Evelyn told members of the media at the Army’s Reed Street, City headquarters, where a service was held to hand out the vouchers and school supplies, that the decision was made to increase sponsorship and donations, because families rushed to the Army last year, seeking donations even after the programme had ended.
“Last year when we did the 80, we still had people coming after and we weren’t able to assist them at the same level. So this year we had an increase in sponsorship. Abeds increased its sponsorship, we increased our sponsorship and First Caribbean increased theirs, and also Cave Shepherd. In all, the total donations come to $12,500 in sponsoring these hundred families. Last year we spent roughly $8,000,” Evelyn said.
The business manager said that as was the case last year, the Salvation Army expected that additional families would come to the headquarters seeking assistance, but they would only receive the help once investigations proved that they truly need it.
“This year we have taken their names, their IDs and we have forwarded that information to our sponsors so that when they go with their vouchers, the persons who are assigned those vouchers actually get the help. So it is not just come and say ‘I want back to school help’, we have to assess that you need it,” she said.
Evelyn noted that the increase in persons seeking assistance could be linked to harsh economic times. She explained that there were parents who have children going into school for the first time and would have to source school supplies.
“One set of people affected, and a lot of people may not realise, is domestic workers. Before a family may have employed someone to come and press for them, but because they are laid off, they no longer can employ someone to come in and press and clean the house. They do it themselves because they are home. We don’t think beyond that, but things have a ripple effect,” she said.