Over the years many editorials have been written about the pressures that the festive season puts on families.

The biggest stress can very often be financial, with not enough money to cover all the costs that come up during Christmas and New Year.

Often that financial pressure can manifest itself in arguments or domestic violence.

That is why it was concerning to see Napier Salvation Army reporting that people calling out for help in Hawke's Bay this year had increased 21.5 per cent on last year's figures. This is more than three times the national increase of 7 per cent.

Advertisement

And we are only just beginning the festive season.

The Sallies say that some people are struggling to meet their basic needs and food and clothes are in hot demand. Added to that, the social work support team and budget advisers had seen 451 new clients since July.

Napier Corps Officer Major Alister Irwin says that many people live pay-cheque to pay-cheque and stress and debt are a big factors for many families.

Christmas expenses coupled with back-to-school pressures just add to the problems.

The Sallies do a wonderful job and without organisations like this, many people would struggle even more.

Some may take a cynical view about all this and say that is simply a case of people living above their means.

That is not a very helpful point of view and I think the measure of a community is how it looks after those in need. Yes, many probably did make wrong choices or overspend but sometimes, especially over Christmas, it is better not to judge and to simply help. If you want to help, call 0800 53 00 00; donate online at salvationarmy.org.nz; make a coin donation at Countdown supermarkets or select a gift from The Salvation Army Gifts of Hope catalogue (salliesgiftsofhope.org).