The Salvation Army will once again be taking applications for the annual Christmas Hamper to help families in need over the holiday season.  

The application process opens on Monday and the Salvation Army will be taking applications until Dec. 2. It is a three-week period, which is shorter than usual, but the Salvation Army wants to make sure they are ready for Christmas.  

Last year, the Christmas Hamper had 345 applicants that served 745 people and helped 312 children with toys.  

“Inflation, the cost of living, has gone up quite a bit, and we're anticipating that the need this year is going to be greater than any previous year,” said Lt. Lester Ward.  

As an indicator, Ward said they started a breakfast program in Moose Jaw in January that saw about 170 people in the first month. In September, the breakfast program fed over 700 people for the month.  

Once again, this year, the Christmas Hamper will come in the form of gift cards with the amounts depending on the family's needs.  

The Salvation Army’s Christmas toy shop is also making a return this year. Any children receiving Christmas Hampers will be invited to the toy store at the Salvation Army Church at 2 Wintergreen Dr. The church will be full of toys and the children, with their parents, can pick out toys for Christmas free of charge.  

“All of these toys, for the most part, are toys from the motorcycle toy run, it's toys from the teddy bear toss from the Warriors game and general donations that get dropped off here in terms of toys on an ongoing basis all year round,” Ward said.  

Beginning Monday, any families that are in need of help this Christmas can apply for a hamper by visiting the Salvation Army’s Community and Family Services office at 175 First Ave. N.E.  

Those wishing to give a monetary donation to help those in need can do so online through the Salvation Army Thrift Store’s website, mail a cheque to the Community and Family Services office or drop by the office during business hours Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.