The Whittlesea and Craigieburn Salvation Army branches are calling on the community to lend a hand to families in need ahead of Christmas.

The Salvos’ Christmas Cheer appeal invites people to make donations to help provide food and presents for community members who are struggling.

Whittlesea Salvation Army Major Craig Exon said small contributions could make a big difference in helping the organisation to give hope.

“At Christmas, the Salvos will serve over 100,000 meals, distribute more than 500,000 gifts and toys and support more than 70,000 families in need,” he said.

“But we can only do this with the support of the public.”

The Whittlesea Salvation Army has two carols events planned for the community – on Sunday, December 9, from 2pm, and on Sunday, December 23, from 6pm, both at 1 Fred Hollows Way, Mill Park.

The Craigieburn Salvation Army will host a carols service on Sunday, December 16, from 5pm at 75 Interlink Drive.

Craigieburn Captain Peter Brookshaw said volunteers would be gift wrapping at Craigieburn Central throughout December to raise money for their appeal.

“This Christmas, the Salvos in Craigieburn will be supporting hundreds of families doing it tough,” he said.

“We will be distributing toys, handing out food hampers, giving out retail vouchers to struggling families and lots more.”