Difficult Christmas for many
Christmas celebrations may not be very jolly for everyone in Sweden. The holiday is getting difficult for many low-income families with children, especially the ones with only one parent (most often the mom). Both Stadsmissionen and the Salvation Army in Stockholm worry over families asking for such basics as food—coupons and food packages disappear right away. Even the elderly with only minimal pensions contact organizations for help, often to get advice on how to get Christmas presents for their grandchildren. And it’s not only Stockholm; the situation is the same in Göteborg and Malmö.
“It’s gotten worse the past years for sure,” says Lotta Säfström, director for Stadsmissionen in Göteborg. “All applications we receive about children’s clothing, winter shoes and overalls—which are a must in the daycare centers—show that. Money is needed. And food packages. During Christmas we will serve some 2500 people.”
The Salvation Army in Malmö has met a new group of people: those whose benefits have expired.
"There are more and more single moms who need money for food," says Susanne Björnheimer, manager for the Salvation Army’s social work in Malmö. "And to be able to buy a few things for their home, nothing much, ham, a tree, a few Christmas presents for the children. Poor retired people, not unheard of in Sweden, are very good with money, but they live with their noses barely above water, and a bill from the dentist could make the whole thing topple over.”