Potato growers from across Cork have united to support the Cork branch of the St Vincent de Paul for Christmas.

The move comes after the charity last week appealed for help from the public for their Christmas campaign following a 10% increase in calls this year.

Under the initiative, the growers will donate 20 cents from the sale of every bag of potatoes that carries the “Cork Potato Growers Support SVP” sticker.

There are 20,000 bags of Cork-grown potatoes for sale throughout the county as part of the campaign, and they will be for sale in various shops across the county.

The campaign was launched by the Cork Potato Growers at the Vienna Woods Hotel in Glanmire last Wednesday.

Campaign organiser David Flynn said the growers hope the public will support the cause by buying locally grown potatoes.

“When I heard the recent appeal by St Vincent de Paul, I felt there must be something that we as a group of local food producers could do to help other people in our community,” Mr Flynn said.

“We then came up with this idea, which guarantees that when people shop local this Christmas, they will be supporting their local community.”

He added: “The Cork potato growers will also not be found wanting when it will come to adding potatoes to the food hampers this Christmas.”

He said that they will be in discussion with the charity to organise the logistics of the goodwill gesture.

SVdP spokesman Brendan Dempsey said the charity spent €2.1m on food last year.

“What the Cork potato growers are doing for us is an enormous help and we really appreciate it. Supporting local industry is the way out of the tough times,” he said.

Last week, it emerged that the SVP in Cork had depleted its cash reserves following an “unprecedented rise in calls for help”.

In 2008, its rainy-day fund stood at around €4m but the fund is almost gone. The charity has appealed for food this year, and not toys.

Despite the country’s improved economic figures, the charity expects to distribute three times more Christmas Day hampers this year than in 2015. Further information for growers or retailers is available at corkpotatogrowers@gmail.com.

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