Sob story but Salvation Army resists handout mentality

Stuff appears to have laid on the sympathy and guilts:

Kids to go without Christmas, mum says

An Invercargill couple say their six young kids will go without on Christmas day and it’s the Salvation Army’s fault.

Shelly Edwards and Leo Hewett said their six children aged 3-10 will get no presents and have a diet of chicken and bread on Christmas day because the Salvation Army failed to help them in their time of need.

“How can we tell the kids there’s nothing for Christmas?” Shelly asked from their south Invercargill state house yesterday.

Struggling to afford a decent Christmas for their kids, they thought it was sorted when the Nga Kete trust referred them to the Salvation Army scheme called adopt-a-family, which sees businesses and individuals sponsor struggling families during Christmas by providing them with a hamper filled with food and treats.

The family had been on the same scheme last year and received presents for their children, a supermarket voucher and a food hamper, they said.

The couple said they had always believed  the Salvation Army was there to look after people, “not push them away”.

“We were relying on adopt-a-family … it’s sad they won’t help people like us,” Shelly said.

The children would not be getting any presents and the family would eat what was in the fridge, including bread and chicken on Christmas day, they said.

“I feel sad for my kids because they are going to miss out on Christmas … we were counting on that for Christmas,” Shelly said.

But the Sallies didn’t buy this sob story.

However, the Salvation Army says the parents are to blame for their family’s predicament because they have relied on handouts rather than trying to help themselves.

Salvation Army spokeswoman Brenda King said the family had never been put on the adopt-a-family scheme this year, effectively because they had failed to help themselves.

Shelly had been using the services of the Salvation Army for about two years and when she received more than three food parcels in one year she was referred to a budget advice centre to receive financial planning assistance, King said.

However, Shelly had not engaged with the budget advisory service so was not put on the adopt-a-family scheme, King said.

The Salvation Army’s aim was for its clients to get to the point where they could look after themselves and be self sufficient.

“If we keep handing out we are enabling them to stay in the situation they are in. We aren’t actually helping them at all in the long run.”

Shelly and her partner had six children and they were responsible for them, King said.

“I have been in touch with her budget advisor and she assures me they do have money. Like everyone Shelly has known Christmas is coming.”

The Sallies have a reputation for hard work and helping a lot of people.

In this case it sounds like parents have ignored attempts to help them budget through the year, expecting to get a repeat handout for Christmas.

When they were turned down they (presumably) went to the media to shame the Sallies into giving them handouts again.

It’s not surprising to see a tough love stance from the Sallies. It’s difficult for them dealing with a wide range of families in various states of need.

But parents have to take responsibility for their own situation. A range of help is on offer to try and assist them turn their lives around.

This might be a tough Christmas for their kids. But if the parents learn from their harsh Christmas message they might make a better Christmas happen for their kids next year. And they will all be better off for it.

Leave a comment


  1. Mickomarvel

     /  23rd December 2014

    bastards. the least they could do is give them $500 for the kids presents.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  23rd December 2014

      With parents like that life will be tough till it ends badly.

    • Limerence

       /  24th December 2014

      $500? Really? When my siblings were that young my parents would buy things from the $2 shop and wrap them separately. Kids had no concept of the worth of those items and they would have gotten bored with them all the same. If your kids expect expensive presents then it’s your own fault for reaching them to feel entitled and not appreciate the small things.

      If this family didn’t plan for Christmas at all, not even buying their children simple and cheap toys throughout the year then it’s their fault too and no, they don’t deserve a free $500 for presents. That $500 could pay for multiple food parcels for families who budget and still can’t get ahead.

  2. Ian McKinnon

     /  23rd December 2014

    Another example of types that breed for feed. Try getting a job, earning a buck, using your energies in the quest for personal monetary return, not producing unwanted kids.

  3. Mike C

     /  23rd December 2014

    An absolutely genius advertising campaign by the Salvation Army. LOL. Saatchi and Saatchi couldnt have come up with a better way to get donations from rich white folks. Next time I see the Sallie’s out in the street, I am going to give them some $$$ 🙂

  4. Good on the ‘Sallies’ for their hard work..

    I blame this sort of thing, on this ‘TORY right-wing Govt.’ whose main priority is looking after their wealthy mates & increasing the gap between them & the rest of us !
    Someone once said ‘If the rich were not SO rich.. the rest could be a bit better off !’ but just ignored by the self-interested few.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  23rd December 2014

      How long do you think it would take this type of “poor” to spend the “bit better off” and be exactly as poor again? And what would be the effect of taking the money and assets the rich have invested in the future and turning it into a free money party for immediate consumption?

      Or you could just look at the consequences wherever it has been tried and recognise it as the nonsense it is.

    • FarmerPete

       /  24th December 2014

      Thats right, blame anyone but the people responsible! It’s the parents – beginning and end of story.

  5. Kittycatkin

     /  23rd December 2014

    The idea that the National party is only interested in its rich friends is old and tired and disproved by the fact that the majority voted for them.

    These people are living in a house heavily subsidised by everyone else; their income comes from everyone else (all those paying taxes, that is) and now they think that they are owed a Christmas ??? The true meaning of Christmas is not presents, and now they have a wonderful chance to show the real Christmas spirit. Chicken and bread ? Chicken sandwiches don’t sound bad, What’s the betting that the chicken is KFC ?

    • Mike C

       /  23rd December 2014

      We actually had cheese and bacon topped rolls filled with barbecued chicken breasts and pan fried chopped tomato and onion in sauce for our dinner last night. LOL.


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