Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Helping Echuca families in need

Echuca Salvation Army lieutenant Mark Smith believes Echuca families are almost twice as needy as this time last year. His comments follow the Salvation Army's annual toy drive last week.

RUTH CLAYTON December 18, 2012 12:40am

Toy drive: Riverine Herald marketing co-ordinator Sarah Crossman and Salvation Army lieutenant Mark Smith with some of the donated toys.

Echuca families are almost twice as needy as they were last Christmas, according to Echuca Salvation Army lieutenant Mark Smith.

‘‘It’s not just low socio-economic people anymore,’’ Mr Smith said

‘‘It’s (people from) all walks of life.

‘‘Even people who’ve got jobs, they don’t have enough (money).’’

Mr Smith said the increased cost of living, including rent, food and power had gone up in the past 12 months and the original demographic of those who needed help had increased.

‘‘The bracket’s getting bigger,’’ he said.

The Salvation Army runs an annual toy drive to distribute toys to needy families at Christmas, which Echuca College, Ulysses Motorcycle Club and the Riv all collect for.

Ulysses Social Club rode through Lockington, Rochester, Kyabram, Tongala and Echuca on Saturday to collect toys for the Salvation Army.

Mr Smith said despite the increased need, people still gave generously to the drive.

‘‘(We’re) able to give a lot more to those who need it,’’ he said.

Riv marketing co-ordinator Sarah Crossman said the newspaper loved getting behind the toy drive.

‘‘It’s fabulous how the community get behind it straight away,’’ she said.

Mr Smith said he wanted to personally thank organisers and the public.

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