The numbers of Irish families depending on the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP ) every year has remained high and show no sign of decreasing in any significant way, according to SVP Galway as it launched its annual appeal.
Speaking at the launch Michael McCann, 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 showing that things are improving," he 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 Michael McCann.
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 SVP appeal campaign will continue into December and money, toys and food can be donated at Ozanam House, St Augustine St., Galway. In the coming weeks SVP volunteers will carry out door-to-door and church gate collections. Donations of toys can also be made through the Aldi Toy Appeal or by arranging a Giving Tree in your local school or workplace. Music lovers can help by purchasing Part Of A Tribe a new charity single in aid of SVP by The Claddagh Band from Galway, which includes local well known composer and performer Johnny Duhan along with Mary Coughlan and Dolores Keane, and which is available from December 5.