The Society of St Vincent de Paul is preparing to help 50,000 Irish families this winter and Newstalk has teamed up with Mastercard to help make that happen.
The charity has warned that, despite claims the recession is over, thousands of people all the country will struggle to provide the most basic comforts for their children this Christmas.
Speaking on The Pat Kenny Show, Deborah Costello, senior member of the St Vincent de Paul (SVP) fundraising team said the charity helps struggling families with simple needs like food, heat and “just what they need to survive for Christmas.”
She said the pressures of the holiday season can often see struggling families forced into debt.
“People try to make their Christmas special for their family so they would prioritise Christmas over the basics that they need,” she said.
“Then what happens is in January and February people are faced with large utility bills – so we are trying to help people face what they want now – and what they need – which is food, heat and toys.”
All next week, Newstalk listeners will be offered the chance to win a once in a lifetime experience by donating to the SVP Christmas Appeal.
A simple €2 donation could make all the difference to an Irish child’s Christmas – and offer the chance to win a priceless holiday experience in a range of far-flung destinations from Bali to South Africa.
Not only that, for every donation received, Mastercard will donate five school meals to children in Mali through the World Food Programme (WFP).
SVP volunteers handed out €7m worth of food alone last year – and the charity expects to answer 125,000 calls again this year.
Ms Costello said the small €2 contribution can go a long way towards providing a happy Christmas for thousands of children in need.
“We know that at least 139,000 children are suffering with poverty in Ireland,” she said. “That is enough to fill Croke Park twice over.
“This really, really helps. The €2 that you text in to donate – all of those combined will really make a difference.”
She said the charity has over 11,000 volunteers working in every community in Ireland.
“They work tirelessly to meet the need and they are just amazing people,” she said.
“They are people like you and I and they just do their work, they do it so selflessly.
“They understand what is happening in their community and that is what is special about SVP it is local people helping local people with their needs.”
Jason Lalor, Mastercard's Country Manager for Ireland said the outreach is part of company’s global pledge to fight world hunger.
“We are hopefully going to raise enough to fund 100 million meals alongside the WFP - and also local charities around the world,” he said.
“Locally in Ireland what we wanted to do was work with a charity that is as credible and has the highest level of integrity - like SVP.
“We know they are doing great work here so we are delighted to get involved.”
He said Mastercard holders can join the fight against world hunger by logging on to mastercard.ie/donate and pledging to make “very small donations” every time they use their card.