LAUNCHING ITS CHRISTMAS appeal yesterday, St Vincent de Paul said calls for help to the charity have more than doubled since 2009.
The continuing increase in requests for assistance has translated into growing costs. According to figures provided at the launch, the cost of providing direct assistance has escalated from €24 million in 2007 to €40 million this year.
During the same six-year-period, SVP has seen the amount it spends helping families with their energy costs triple.
“The bulk of this assistance goes to helping families with food, energy and education costs,” said vice president Tom MacSweeney yesterday.
“We depend entirely on donations from the public and corporate donors for this work. The generosity of the Irish people to SVP over the years has been outstanding.
“Despite their own difficulties there are many individuals and organisations that somehow find something to give to SVP and this generosity is absolutely welcomed and essential for the SVP to support those in great need,” he added, referencing this year’s appeal theme which is ‘We can’t do it alone’.
There has been a radical shift in the profiles of those seeking help from the charity, making their needs varied and complex.
The families are not just those on social welfare, said MacSweeney. They also include people in low-paid employment, the self-employed and people in good employment with debts they cannot handle.
SVP manages 970 social housing units, has 344 emergency beds per night available for the homeless, operates 15 day care centres, 150 shops and many breakfast, homework and revision clubs. See more about the appeal which runs through December and SVP Week from 2-8 December on www.svp.ie.
‘That dive guide is now homeless. So is the waitress who made your mango shakes and chatted about her kids’