The Salvation Army is encouraging Deniliquin locals to connect with their community this Christmas.

Captain Sandra Walmsley said Christmas is one of the hardest times of the year for Australians doing it tough, with large numbers living in poverty and struggling to afford basics such as food.

Many will also spend the festive season alone.

“At Christmas, the Salvos will serve more than 100,000 meals, distribute more than 500,000 gifts and toys and support more than 70,000 families in need. But we can only do this with the support of the Australian public,” Capt Walmsley said.

The Deniliquin Salvation Army is running its annual Christmas Cheer operation, to provide toys and food for those in need.

“Whether you are by yourself, or with friends and family, Christmas is a time that is best spent together,” Capt Walmsley said.

“So join us and we can share the true spirit of Christmas.”

If you require assistance at Christmas with food and gifts, call 5881 3868.

If you need emergency assistance, call 1300 371 288 (9am-5pm Monday to Friday).