St Vincent de Paul to help 50,000 families this winter

St Vincent de Paul to help 50,000 families this winter

Around 50,000 families are expected to be visited by St Vincent de Paul this winter.

The charity is currently receiving over 1,000 phone calls a day from people in need.

St Vincent de Paul says they were expecting to see a decrease in demand on their services in the run-up to Christmas due to the improving economy but that is not the case.

Volunteers visited 50,000 families last winter and they expect to do the same in 2018.

SVP National President Kieran Stafford said, “Although we are now among the top five richest countries in the world we still have over 16% of the population (780,000 people) living below the poverty line.

“Poverty in Ireland in 2018 takes many forms and is primarily driven by low income and lack of access to good quality jobs and affordable housing, health, education and childcare.

“In our engagement with families and individuals living in poverty, SVP volunteers encounter many complex situations that require a variety of responses.”

The charity launched its annual appeal this afternoon with the help of primary school students from around the country.

Saoirse Boyce from Tulla Co. Clare says her and her classmates have a very special performance to mark the occasion.

"We rewrote Picture This 'Take My Hand' to be about homelessness," said Ms Boyce.

"We rewrote the lyrics, we kept a few because we thought the concept of taking someone's hand would be lovely for SVP's helping people out of poverty."

SVP says 16% of the population are currently living below the poverty line.

They are asking the public to support their work in anyway they can over the festive season.

“Many of the families we visit will struggle to make ends meet this Christmas and some will consider borrowing money to meet the extra expenses they face at this time of year," said Mr Stafford.

"Being able to access affordable credit, rather than loans with extremely high-interest rates is essential if families are to avoid becoming over-indebted.

"We would urge anyone who is struggling, particularly with the cost of education, fuel and food to come to SVP for help.”

Digital Desk

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