Christmas a tough time for many families

By ALLAN McNEILallanm@gladstoneobserver.com.au

WHILE Gladstone is traditionally thought of as a fairly well off city, there are those locals who struggle during the festive season

Major Bill Hutley of the Salvation Army said this yearbetween 200 and 250 families would need some sort of financial assistance over Christmas.

Major Hutley said because Gladstone enjoyed a high average income due to local industry, many residents would be amazed to discover how many people lived beyond their means over Christmas.

Major Hutley said programs such as the K Mart Wishing Tree, Mayor's Christmas Tree and food vouchers helped many families during the season.

While the use of vouchers restricted the recipients to purchasing food, Major Hutley said they provided the chance for people to use the money they saved to buy some gifts for Christmas.

However he said the issues associated with the festive season went beyond what people were able to purchase.

Major Hutley said emotional problems were increased by people's financial situation during the festive season.

'We find that some of it happens because of the season, October and November is a difficult time for people,' Major Hutley said.

'The expectations of what they would like to give can create a conflict in their own minds and within their family or relationship.'

Major Hutley said such circumstances resulted in local community organisations needing to provide relationship or budget advice.



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