Poverty has serious psychological consequences – and they hit particularly hard at Christmas.
“We are glad that the Vissing Foundation is supporting our work with vulnerable children and young people at Christmas time. Unfortunately, the families’ economic situation leads many of them to isolate themselves. They do not invite guests; they rarely take part in social events, and the children do not come to leisure activities. These are people who often struggle with financial problems, or they have problems with abuse, or social or psychiatric problems, which affect the children in the family – and especially at Christmas,” says Lars Roskam, who is a fundraiser for the Salvation Army.
Even though the children are not responsible for their parents’ situation or the family’s financial problems, it is often the children who are most affected when the family cannot afford Christmas presents.
“The children feel left out at school, and some are bullied or have stomach ache at bedtime. For many poor families Christmas is a time of speculations and worries, because the parents cannot afford to give their children things at Christmas like the things their schoolmates will be getting,” says Lars Roskam, who believes all children deserve a happy Christmas.
With their Christmas assistance the Salvation Army enables these families to have a Christmas like other people in the community that they – and especially their children – often do not join in. They create happy memories that the families can enjoy the rest of the year.
At the same time, help at Christmas helps them to join in the local community, when the children can talk to their friends about expectations and stories of Christmas food and presents.