Hunger grips Limerick as more turn to services for support

Pictured at the launch of the Redemptorist Christmas Hamper appeal Fr Brian Nolan CSsR Rector, Mrs Therese Delaney, Liam Ronan and Fr Roman Lahish CSsR and pupils from St Clements Redemptorist College {Champlaincy Team} Photo: Michael Cowhey.

FAMILIES desperate for support to the point of being hungry have been reaching out to charitable agencies in far bigger numbers than ever before in Limerick this year.

And while Mid West Simon are reporting even people in full time employment turning to them for help, the Redemptorists have sent out more hampers than ever this year to needy families, all while juggling a drop of nearly one third in cash contributions to support their appeal.

Fr Brian Nolan, who manages the Redemptorists’ fundraising and spending of funds in the appeal, told the Limerick Post that “this year we have sent out 7,000 hampers, 1,000 more than last year”.

“There is no doubt that the cost of living has hit very hard and there is genuine need. The cost of fuel is coming down, but that hasn’t really trickled through to people yet in terms of the cost of heating their homes,” Fr Nolan said.

“The cost of food has gone up by five or six per cent, and the cost of luxury goods like chocolates and biscuits has gone up by as much as 12 per cent.

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“At the same time, the contributions to the appeal are down by about 30 per cent, although we haven’t the final figures yet, but on both ends it shows people are finding it harder.”

Fr Nolan said the drop in contributions won’t affect the hampers, which have all been distributed, but the fall in contributions could affect other projects which they support all year, including Novas, Corpus Christi community services, Saoirse addiction services, and the Limerick Law and Mediation services.

Meanwhile, Mid West Simon, which has been distributing food parcels on a year-round basis, has yet to collate it’s annual figures but a spokesman told the Limerick Post that “there’s no doubt that the need this year is greater across the board”.

“We have many more people reaching out for help, including people in full time jobs people who would never have seen themselves having to ask for support.”