Salvation Army's Red Shield Appeal goes digital in response to COVID-19

Appeal: Salvation Army's Captain David Sutcliffe (pictured) he has seen a gradual increase in people needing assistance due to COVID-19. Photo: Supplied.
Appeal: Salvation Army's Captain David Sutcliffe (pictured) he has seen a gradual increase in people needing assistance due to COVID-19. Photo: Supplied.

The Orana Salvation Army team have seen a gradual increase of people needing assistance due to the COVID-19 crisis, which is why they are calling on those who can help to donate to the Red Shield Appeal.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Salvation Army's Red Shield Appeal will this year be run digitally.

The Salvos hope to enlist 10,000 virtual collectors to sign up and fundraise for the Red Shield Appeal Digital Doorknock on May 23 and 24 to help meet the challenging times ahead.

Residents can go online and donate directly to the Orana region, which takes in Dubbo and Wellington, with donations to be used in the community to assist people moving forward.

Orana Salvation Army captain Sutcliffe said the local team have received a lot of questions coming in from residents asking what support is currently available.

"We're seeing a gradual increase in the number of people needing help," he explained.

"Initially it was 'what are you able to do' and what is there if I need it', which is great that people are thinking ahead because that's often something we don't see. We usually only get people come in to us when they've hit rock bottom.

"But we are seeing more people (needing assistance) and people who we haven't come in before."

The Orana Salvation Army are continuing to provide assistance during the pandemic, including through its financial counselling services, casework, emergency relief, food assistance and community meals.

"We're seeing a lot of different people access those now," Cpt Sutcliffe added.

Money raised from the digital Appeal will go towards funding the above local welfare initiatives, among others.

Cpt Sutcliffe said the Orana Salvation Army has been serving the community for over 100 years.

"The support we receive every May (for the Appeal) from our local community is absolutely amazing and for us we're really just trying to stress that yes (this year) it will be different, we're not going to be out in shopping centres or knocking on doors, but perhaps now more than ever we're really going to need the support of people," he explained.

"We encourage them to jump online and donate. It's so simple and safe... and if people are not able to go online to just contact us at the office so we can arrange another way for them to give."

One of the difficulties is not knowing when this pandemic will end, Cpt Sutcliffe said, adding that no-one knows if it will continue over the next few weeks or months.

"That uncertainty is causing a lot of anxiety in people as well," he said.

Cpt Sutcliffe said the Orana Salvation Army team are worried about the financial impact this pandemic will have on mentally and financially on people.

"I think we're going to continue to see more people losing work because there's such a downturn in the economy as well," he said.

"We're very worried about the impact that's going to have on people, there were so many people we were already helping every week and those numbers are just going to continue to grow as this continues."

Cpt Sutcliffe said there are many devastating things happening as a result of the coronavirus health crisis, with one being residents feeling they've lost their community connection.

"What we're seeing is a lot of people reaching out to us, particularly, people wanting to just have a chat more than anything," he explained.

"People are scared and they're lonely and want someone to talk to."

If you would like to donate please visit digitaldoorknock.salvationarmy.org.au

To find out more information head to salvationarmy.org.au or call 13 SALVOS (13 72 58).