The Salvation Army launched its Christmas present appeal on Thursday with a challenge to the public to purchase gifts for people in need as the financial crisis threatens to overshadow the celebrations for many this year.
The Salvation Army's Christmas Present Appeal has become an annual tradition that sees thousands of presents collected across the United Kingdom and given to those less well-off.
Last year, more than 150,000 presents were collected and distributed. This year, even more volunteers are being recruited to help collect, wrap and distribute the gifts donated by members of the public at Salvation Army branches and Superdrug stores across the UK.
Lieutenant Colonel Royston Bartlett, communications secretary for The Salvation Army, said, "The Salvation Army has run its national Christmas Present Appeal for nearly a decade, with the majority of gifts donated to children 0–16.
"Other gifts for families, older people and the homeless are also welcomed because we know there are many people who may not receive a gift on Christmas Day."
"We are aware that, in these difficult times, some people may be struggling to get enough together for Christmas so this year, more than ever, we are asking members of the public to give a gift and light up a life," he continued.
"Unfortunately, every year there are thousands of families across the country who struggle at Christmas and we do expect an increased need this year."