Myths about poverty and the poor endure.
According to The Dignity Project report from The Salvation Army, nearly 50 per cent of Canadians feel that a family of four could get by on $10,000 to $30,000 a year and the poor can always find a job if they really want to work.
Another 41 per cent believe that the poor would take advantage of any assistance given.
“People are surprised sometimes that the need is out there,” said Red Deer Salvation Army Capt. Jason Sabourin on Monday.
The public is unaware of children who are going to school hungry and seniors who put on a brave face but are struggling financially, he said.
“People cover up well these days.”
The Dignity Project campaign was developed to inspire and educate the public about what it means to live in poverty and promote dignity for all.
“Hopefully that leads to the question: What can I do?”
Red Deer Salvation Army plans to hold an open house in May to draw attention to information in The Dignity Project report and make people more aware of the Salvation Army, its services and fundraising.
Sabourin said the need is going to continue to rise locally in this economy and with the increasing population.
In 2010, the Red Deer Salvation Army saw 1,529 individuals who made appointments for services, up from 1,382 in 2009.
That doesn’t include people who just drop by for free bread or coffee, or are referred to other agencies.
At Christmas, they distributed 186 food hampers, compared to 154 in 2009.
Red Deer Salvation Army provides assistance for basic needs like emergency food, lodging, clothing, furniture, antibiotics, income tax preparation help so families can receive children’s benefits, and addiction services in Edmonton.
For more information on The Dignity Project visit www.salvationarmy.ca/dignity.