I have always had a soft spot for the Salvation Army and admiration for the tireless work the organisation does for the less-fortunate and those in need.

As far as charities go, the Sallies aren't really that glamorous and tend to quietly get on with their roles in the community. Most of us only remember them when we see the adverts on television.

The organisation has been around for so long that many just take them for granted.

However, there is no doubt that they do good work in our communities and are always there to help those in dire straits. So, when the Sally Army says things are getting tough out there, then it is worth listening.

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We reported in yesterday's paper that the Salvation Army has seen an almost 50 per cent increase in families receiving food parcels.

The army told us that in Napier alone, 421 families were provided with emergency food parcels in the first three months of this year - 132 more than for the first quarter of last year.

This increase is mirrored at a national level where the army is finding that the number of those living in unsuitable environments, on the streets or in cars, is growing. As usual, those who suffer the most are the children and many youngsters in need are requiring help.

In a country like ours, which has a good welfare net, it is not good to be hearing tales like this.

It is all very well to criticise people for wrong life choices but there comes a time when, no matter who is to blame, they still need help.

This is where the Sallies step in. This week, you will see them and other volunteers out and about collecting money in their Red Shield Street Appeal.

Help if you can, because it will be going to someone in need.