The Society of St Vincent de Paul expects to field 60,000 calls for help from people in need this winter.
The charity launched its winter appeal this morning, noting that while Christmas can be “the most wonderful time of the year,” it is the most worrying for thousands of families around the country.
Speaking at the launch this morning, the charity’s national president Kieran Stafford said SVP volunteers visited 50,000 homes last winter.
“With the 2019 calls for help so far running ahead of the 2018 figures, we expect that the figure for this year will increase,” he said.
“These are people who want to make Christmas as special for their children and families as everyone else but lack the financial resources to meet the additional costs this time brings and are already struggling to pay for food, heating and rent.”
For many people Christmas can be the most worrying time of the year. The lack of financial resources to meet the additional costs this time brings puts extra pressure on people already struggling to pay for basics such as food, heating, rent and education. https://t.co/PdhvQgZpHs pic.twitter.com/mwkjh0gEMv
— SVP - Ireland (@SVP_Ireland) November 20, 2019
He said children are at the heart of this year’s appeal because they are the most vulnerable “and should not suffer because society has got things so wrong.”
He thanked the public for their generous support over the years and read out a letter from a family supported by the charity last Christmas.
“I was really struggling when I reached out to SVP,” the family member wrote.
“Volunteers visited my home and helped pay for oil. A warm house took so much pressure off.
“I was able to get a few nice presents for the girls for a change, and we had enough for the dinner.
“The SVP volunteers were like Christmas Angels to us.”
— Kim Buckley (@KiiimBuckley) November 20, 2019
The charity’s head of fundraising, Nichola Mullen said this year’s appeal will run right up to Christmas week – with a huge banner of an empty cupboard to be unfurled on Dublin’s Liberty Hall
“This is to highlight the startling prevalence of food poverty which has increased across Ireland in recent years,” she said.
“Of the 150,000 calls SVP will receive for the total year, one in three will be from people without enough food.”