TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - More than 100,000 volunteers will spend this weekend knocking on doors to help the Salvation Army battling Australia's rising rate of poverty. For two day, through the Red Shield Appeal Doorknock program, Salvation Army aims to raise $10.2 million, part of an overall fund-raising target of $79 million.
The Salvation Army's Major Bruce Harmer said the funds would help more than one million people living in poverty. A report released by the Salvation Army this week exposed a grim picture for Australia's poor.
Findings from the National Economic and Social Impact Survey 2013, which polled 2,705 Salvation Army clients nationally, revealed high levels of poverty, particularly among families with children. ''The report is very alarming,'' Major Harmer said.
It is now estimated one in six children in Australia now lives at, or below, the poverty line. Obviously many children in families are suffering terribly because of the levels of poverty.
Salvation Army’s report also highlighted that Australia has the fourth highest proportion of children under the age of 15 in a jobless family, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development countries.
More than half the respondents with children said they could not afford out-of-school activities and more than a third said they could not pay for school-based activities such as excursions.
More than a quarter could not afford a substantial meal once a day, with many saying they would not have food to ensure their children eat.
A quarter could not afford heating or cooling, and almost 60 percent could not pay utility bills on time.Sixty per cent were unable to afford dental treatment and 35 percent could not pay for prescription medication.
The Salvation Army is a Christian denomination and international charitable organization organized in a quasi-military structure. Its main office is in England. The organization reports worldwide membership of over 1.5 million. Its founders William and Catherine Booth sought to bring salvation to the poor, destitute and hungry by meeting both their "physical and spiritual needs"
It has a presence in 126 countries, running charity shops, operating shelters for the homeless, and providing disaster relief and humanitarian aid to developing countries.