800 calls a day to SVP to help in advance of Christmas

Nothing left for extra food after mortgage/rent and heating bills are paid

by Rose Barrett
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As Christmas approaches, the Society of Vincent de Paul is currently receiving 800 requests for help every day.

Launching this year’s SVP Annual Appeal entitled “Impossible Choices”, Rose McGowan, SVP National President, said that despite the additional cost-of-living support payments made by the government, there are many people who are struggling to meet basic family expenses.

It’s parents and families who are hard pressed to choose between fuel and energy bills, or food. The SVP stated the appeals were as diverse as asking to help buy their children winter clothing, and basic food and snacks for school going children.

By the time the mortgage or rent is paid, and the increased fuel bills are paid, people just don’t have money any more to buy school books, or simple things like gloves and hats for young children in winter.

Ms McGowan continued: “Last year, there were a record-breaking 191,000 requests for help received at our national and regional offices. That figure looks likely to be exceeded this year, with 168,000 requests already received to the end of October, a 19% increase on the same time in 2021.

“The cost of living measures such as the one-off Fuel Allowance, double social welfare, child benefit and state pension payments will help low-income households during what will be a very difficult winter, but these measures are only temporary. We are very worried that many of these families will continue to struggle into next year.

“In the coming months, the cost of living crisis will hit different households in different ways, particularly with the rising costs of food, energy and housing. Add in Christmas costs, and you can see how difficult life will be for those on fixed incomes, whether that income comes through the State or from low-paid employment.

“Those hardest hit will include one parent-families, low-income workers; households on fixed social welfare incomes; low-income households in rural areas; people with disabilities and their carers. They are all facing impossible choices this Christmas and into the new year.

That is why we are seeking donations to help families pay for food, heat their homes and ensure their children get a decent Christmas.

“We are asking people to please donate whatever they can spare at either a local collection, online  or over the phone to help people who are struggling now and will continue to struggle through this winter and into the new year.”

Many ways to donate to SVP

Online: svp.ie and nominate your local area

By phone:  0818 176 176 (ROI) or 028 9075 0161 (NI) and nominate your local area

By post: to SVP, PO Box 1234, Dublin 1, cheques made payable to ‘Society of St. Vincent de Paul’ or direct to a regional office, addresses can be found on www.svp.ie.

Blue envelopes: Keep an eye out for special blue envelopes in newspapers, churches and delivered to homes throughout the country.

Among the supporters of this year’s SVP Annual Appeal are Brown Thomas and Arnotts with a range of activities in their stores, including proceeds from their Santa’s Grotto and tap-to-donate throughout their stores.

EUROSPAR will organise an ‘Empty Plate Appeal’ in their stores nationwide, asking customers to donate physical food items into a basket. These will then be converted into EUROSPAR vouchers and donated to the local SVP Conferences.

Me2You Gift Cards have teamed up with SVP again to support their Gift of Choice Voucher Appeal. Vouchers for all ages can be bought on the SVP website and directed to those in need in your community.

Anyone passing Liberty Hall in Dublin will also see an impactful banner with the SVP Annual Appeal ‘Impossible Choices’ theme displayed on the building, supported by SIPTU.

Feature photo: Rose McGowan, SVP National President, is pictured at the annual appeal announcement with Skye Kelly (4), Killester  and Keagen Harrington (7), Griffith Avenue.

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