Making Christmas Bright

Martin receives bag of toys and food hamper

While Christmas may look different this year, there is one thing that won’t change. The Salvation Army will continue to assist Canada’s most vulnerable. “I definitely need help right now,” says Martin, husband and father of two. “A Christmas hamper with food and toys for my children means the world to me.”

“I definitely need help right now”

In 2016, Martin’s wife fell ill to H1N1, a strain of the flu virus, that left her in a coma for six months and a leg that developed gangrene and couldn’t be saved. With a future that was blurred and had little hope, he turned to The Salvation Army in Swift Current, Sask., for help. Encouraged not to give up, he has since received practical help such as food and transportation to appointments, Christmas assistance, and a belief in himself that he never had.

“The Salvation Army changed my life,” says Martin. “Their help shows me that people still care about people. Their kindness and compassion helped me believe in myself so I could succeed.”

Martin and his wife were working hard to rise above their difficulties when they learned their then five-year-old son had a hole in his heart.

“Our son needed medical attention at a hospital two hours away,” says Martin. “Greyhound had cancelled its Canadian routes west of Ontario. We were out of options, our emotional stress at an all-time high, when someone from The Salvation Army, who we’d never met, offered to help.”

“The gifts under the tree are guaranteed to make us all smile”

Captain Ed, church pastor at that time, drove Martin and Sean to the life-changing appointment. Here Shawn received medication that helped him to heal.

“In the absence of family, The Salvation Army has always been there for us,” says Martin. “This Christmas, their help is making me feel good inside and the gifts under the tree are guaranteed to make us all smile.”

By Linda Leigh