December 20, 2017 3:30 pm

Fewer Salvation Army Christmas hampers distributed in Penticton

Salvation Army client Roger Tremblay picks up a gift during hamper distribution.

Shelby Thom/Global News
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Fewer Christmas hampers are being distributed by the Salvation Army to individuals and families-in-need in the Penticton area, because the demand has decreased.

Pastor Miriam Leslie said 713 hampers will be distributed this year, compared to more than 1,100 last year.

“We don’t know for sure, but what we think is that those who have received the increase in their child tax benefit are able to manage a bit better,” Leslie said on Wednesday.

READ MORE: More Okanagan residents expected to need financial help as Salvation Army Kettle Campaign kicks off

Recipients must meet criteria to receive a Christmas hamper by proving they are in need.

They receive healthy food and treats and kids receive children’s toys and teddy bears.

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Wednesday is the final day of distribution at the The Salvation Army church in Penticton.

“I think it gives people hope. Christmas is a really difficult time for a lot of people, particularly if you are on a low income you get caught up in all of the commercialism, and that is not what we are all about, but we want people to feel included, to feel loved and to feel remembered,” Leslie said.

She noted that there is an increase in seniors utilizing their services, and individuals who are employed.

READ MORE: Hundreds of toys collected in one of the largest Christmas toy drives in the Okanagan

“There is a lot of working poor just not able to make ends meet or are in a lot of debt,” she said.

Roger Tremblay is a grateful recipient of his first salvation army Christmas hamper.

“This is helping me this year because I’ve had a lot of ups and downs and I could use this help right now,” he said.

WATCH: Okanagan families needing assistance this Christmas season urged to register this week for the Salvation Army’s annual Christmas blessing program 

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