The reliance of thousands of Irish families on the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP ) has remained consistently high over the past five years, and the numbers show no sign of decreasing in any significant way, said SVP Galway as it launched its annual appeal this week.
The “Save someone from a life time of poverty” appeal was launched in Ozanam House in St Augustine St by Mayor of Galway City, Niall McNeilis. Speaking at the launch, Belinda Mullen, Galway Area President of SVP said most of those who seek the support of St Vincent de Paul are struggling week in and week out on a basic minimum income, either from state payments or from low-paid employment.
“It is when they encounter an unexpected cost or a period when additional expenditure occurs, such as Christmas that is when they critically need support. We’re glad to see the economic indicators that things are improving,” she said, “but we are still seeing that there are many people with problems ranging from not having enough food to not having the money to keep the heating on, worrying about the lights and the next gas bill and their children going to school. There is still a spirit of helplessness among many families seen by our volunteers every week.”
SVP members continue to make in the region of 18,000 visits a year to homes in the Galway area to provide assistance for a myriad of practical, emotional and psychological problems.
“SVP in Galway spends well over €1m a year on direct assistance. The bulk of this goes to helping families with food, energy and education costs. We depend entirely on donations from the public and corporate donors for this work and thankfully the generosity of the people of Galway to SVP over the years has been outstanding, We hope that the response to this year’s Annual Appeal is as equally generous,” continued Belinda Mullen.
Between now and the end of this year, SVP volunteers will be visiting homes all over Galway city and county. They will give support in a whole variety of ways. In some cases it will just be a comforting shoulder to lean on or advice on where to go for professional help with a specific problem. In many, many cases it will be to ensure that children have a toy under the Christmas Tree or that the families have sufficient food, heat and light to get over the ‘festive’ season.
“The money raised in Galway is used locally and this Annual Appeal will support our work between now and year end and well into 2019. It allows us to continue our work, which is dedicated to helping the weakest and most vulnerable in our Society. This means not only providing practical support but encouraging self-sufficiency and campaigning for social justice, concluded Ms Mullen.
How to help
The SVP appeal campaign will continue into December. Between November 25 and 8th December 8, SVP volunteers will carry out door-to-door and church gate collections. Donations of toys can be made by arranging a Giving Tree in your local school or workplace. Money, toys, and food can also be donated at Ozanam House, St Augustine St., Galway.