It's no secret that many in our community are struggling to make ends meet.

Homeless numbers have skyrocketed; some children are going to school hungry, and volunteers working within the community are struggling to keep up with demand.

And it's well-documented that Christmas can be financially challenging for many families - for them, it's a time of hardship.

Family budgets can be stretched to breaking point as parents try to factor in the cost of buying Christmas gifts for their children, who have already been chatting to friends about what they hope Santa might bring.

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Today, we launch our annual six-week Christmas Appeal for the Salvation Army, which does a fantastic job of ensuring families that have fallen on hard times have somewhere to turn to for help.

Christmas appeal.
Christmas appeal.

It is the first time I have worked on the appeal, and I am excited to be able to shine a light on those in the community who generously help others.

Over the next six weeks, we'll be putting the Salvation Army firmly on the news agenda and encouraging people and businesses to give what they can.

Read more:
Rotorua Daily Post 2019 Christmas Appeal: Community to dig deep for those in need
Opinion: Open your hearts this Christmas

We will bring you regular stories involving the Salvation Army, its volunteers, the people it helps and how your donation can make a difference.

Read more:
Rotorua Daily Post 2019 Christmas Appeal: Community to dig deep for those in need
Rotorua Daily Post 2019 Christmas Appeal: Community to dig deep for those in need

I hope these stories will inspire people to give whatever they can this Christmas.

As part of the appeal, the Rotorua Daily Post is seeking non-perishable food donations to help the Salvation Army continue its excellent work throughout the Christmas period

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A can of baked beans or a simple fruit cake would make a world of difference for those who are struggling to put food on the table.

Any donation or help will be much appreciated - whether that be a gold coin donation, baby formula or a can of soup.

And please let us know if you're planning to do something to help raise money and goods.

The smallest donation could make all the difference for families this Christmas.

Together, we can make a difference.