Salvation Army clients say thanks for turkey, more needed to end poverty

About 200 people in need turned out for the Salvation Army's Christmas turkey dinner in downtown St. John's Tuesday. Organizers say it's more than just a yearly tradition, this kind of charity is becoming common year-round.

Community organizations say need for charity meals on the rise

It's more than an annual tradition. The church says the need is year-round. (Keith Burgess/CBC)

About 200 people in need turned out for the Salvation Army's Christmas turkey dinner in downtown St. John's Tuesday.

Both organizers and clients say the need for this kind of charity is growing.

Living on next to nothing is all too familiar for 65-year-old June Snow.

June Snow says it's getting harder to live on a limited income. (Keith Burgess/CBC)

Once she pays her rent and bills there's not much left for food.

"I don't ask anybody for anything, I don't go to the food banks and the only place I come to eat is here," said Snow.

She added that government hasn't offered her much help in the past and all the new promises don't carry much weight with her either.

"I have no hope with them, no hope, because I don't think they're going to do anything for us."

Billy Murray and Robyn Byrne said they are no longer living on the street because of help from community organizations. (Keith Burgess/CBC)

Robyn Byrne and Billy Murray have also been through some tough times and know what it's like to be down and out. 

If it wasn't for organizations like this … we'd be starving.- Billy Murray

They echoed Snow's sentiments, saying they know better than to turn to government promises for help.

"It has nothing to do with the government. It has to do with all the wonderful people who donate and the volunteers," said Murray.

"If it wasn't for organizations like this … we'd be starving."

Visitors to the Salvation Army's Christmas dinner say the hard work of volunteers is one reason meals like this are possible. (Keith Burgess/CBC)

Despite an overall rise in prosperity, Major John Goulding said the task of looking after the growing number of poor still falls on churches and community organizations. 

He questions if the new government will be able to break the poverty chain.

"We are hoping they will take a better look at the need and the situation of homelessness and poverty," Goulding told CBC, adding that poverty is something that has to be broken by a generation.

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