by Bernie English
CALLS for help from people struggling to feed themselves and their families despite being at work have doubled in recent years, the mid-west branch of the St Vincent de Paul has revealed.
And the cost to the Society of helping people pay their energy bills has tripled since 2007.
Helping with heat, food and education bills come high on the Society’s list of priorities but volunteers are meeting a very different kind of people in need, said Mid West president, Michael Murphy.
“Calls have doubled since 2009. The families we visit are not just those on social welfare, they include people in low-paid employment, the self-employed and people in good employment with debts that they cannot handle,” the president said.
He was speaking at the launch of the Society’s Christmas appeal when he said that the cost of providing direct assistance has escalated from €24 million in 2007 to over €40 million now.
The Society’s appeal this year is on the theme “We can’t do it alone”, underlining the fact that SVP depends on the goodwill of individuals and corporations who donate to support their work.
“Despite their own difficulties, there are many individuals and organisations that somehow find something to give to SVP and this generosity is absolutely essential for us to support those in great need.” the president said.
The SVP Annual Appeal campaign will continue into December with local SVP conferences holding church gate collections during SVP week from December 2 to 6. In addition to making donations directly there are several options to support the SVP at www.svp.ie/appeal.
Classical-crossover trio, Affiniti who performed at the launch have recorded ‘Oh Holy Night’ with the Palaterina Boys Choir and the Carlow Choir and orchestral music by the Filmharmoic Orchestra Prague. The CD is on sale for €5 in Vincent Shops and can also be downloaded from iTunes.
Glen Hansard and Mark Geary have collaborated on Mark’s song “Christmas Biscuits”. Recorded with some of Ireland’s best musicians and engineered by Karl Odlum, it can be downloaded from iTunes from November 29.