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N.B. charities seek more community help during holidays amid rising demand

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As the holiday season approaches, a number of annual Christmas drives and fundraisers are preparing to help the rising number of people in need.

At The Joshua Group, a charity based in Saint John, N.B., donated children’s toys already occupy several table tops. Volunteer Bobby Hayes told Global News there’s a need for toys of all types.

“Toys, dolls, anything you would shop for your kids, you know, we got the little guy’s who’re three or four years old, right up to 15, 16 years old,” he said.

In recent months, Hayes said there has been a noticeable increase of people in the community who need help – many of them families.

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“Christmas is a real struggle, especially these days, the rent and food is so high. If you were struggling before, can you imagine what it’s like now?” said Hayes.

“When you see kids coming in here and picking up their gift, they won’t have nothing unless someone steps up to the plate.”

Hayes noted The Joshua Group is expected to provide gifts for about 400 children in the region, but they will rely upon the community help to fill the gaps.

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At the Salvation Army in Saint John, volunteers have also recognized growing needs in the community.

“There’s a need for personal care items, there’s a need for counselling, there’s a need for rental assistance, so the need it seems to be growing,” said Kettle Coordinator David Bown.

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The Salvation Army has launched its signature Christmas Kettle Campaign – a well-known indication the season of giving has arrived.

Donations aid in a number of holiday initiatives, as well as the army’s Hope Café in Saint John.

So far, there are 10 kettle locations in Saint John, which will rise to 15 by mid-December. Bown said the goal is to raise $210,000.

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Concerns have been raised across the country over decreased donations amid high levels of inflation.

“But it doesn’t seem yet to have hurt. People are still so kind, they still see that need is going to be there, that it’s very real,” Bown added.

Despite the greater need in the region, organizations remain confident they can find the resources for each person who needs it.

“It really makes a difference just one day a year puts a big smile on a kids face that maybe doesn’t have too much,” said Hayes.