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Saturday 23 September 2023 Dublin: 15°C
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# A helping hand
Hundreds of Irish radio listeners offer help to desperate mother after hearing her story
She broke down in tears as she told Jeremy Dixon how she found it heartbreaking not to be able to provide for her children at this time of year.

WHEN MOTHER-OF-FOUR Sarah called Dublin’s 98FM and spoke to Jeremy Dixon this morning, she was at her wit’s end.

A domestic violence victim, she has been raising her children on her own and has previously been homeless. Her kids are aged between three and 17 and her eldest suffers from mental health issues.

For food she has turned to the food bank at the Capuchin Day Centre to get by but says the cost of the bus fare there and back to Finglas with her children is almost as much as the cost of the items in the bag.

She lives in a council house and has been trying to find work but has no one to mind her younger children.

“I don’t actually have anyone I can turn to. I don’t have a social life so I don’t get out to talk to anyone,” she told the radio station.

Sarah has tried her best to make her home festive for her children, picking up some small decorations in charity shops. Though she received vouchers for a turkey and ham from St Vincent De Paul so they could have dinner, she was facing a Christmas with no presents to give her children.

She broke down in tears as she told Dixon how she found it heartbreaking not to be able to provide for her children at this time of year – that Santa would not be visiting her youngest children.

I have nothing that can surround the kids with happy memories. I’m just asking for the children to be happy and to have a nice day.

Just last week, the woman was also attacked and mugged on her way home from the shop. She was hospitalised and said her face is scarred.

“I’ve been there”

Within the first few minutes of the interview with Sarah, the radio station’s phone lines were jammed with callers offering help.

Dee, a woman who had lived in Dublin, calling from the US said she had in the past found herself in a similar position as a single mother. Her life improved and she said she had come into money that she was looking to do good with. She offered €500 to Sarah “so your kids can have something for Christmas”.

“Her story is just killing me here,” she told Dixon.

The next call came from a woman called Jackie who said Sarah’s 8-year-old daughter was welcome to have the clothes her daughter had recently grown out of.

And then another offer of €500 from a Dublin man called Gavin.

“I have been there before, I have been down on my knees and I had a wife who picked me back up,” he said.

Listening to Sarah, she doesn’t have anyone to pick her back up and that’s not right, she shouldn’t be on her own.

“You’re not on your own from here on in,” he told her.

“Paying it forward”

A young man called Dean also saw parallels with his own life.

“It’s very, very close to home for me – my mother went through the exact same thing, she had an abusive husband not around to help, she put her kids before herself.”

I’d just like to fill that lady’s fridge and freezer. Someone did that for my mother once and I’d just like to pay it forward. She has my heart broken here.

Other offers included a Christmas tree, toys for the children and Christmas dinner as hundreds of generous listeners got in touch to let Sarah know there are people in this country who care about her.

A clearly overwhelmed Sarah told Dixon she “didn’t think there were people out there like that”.

“I can’t believe it,” she said. “I feel like a weight has been lifted off me”.

You can listen to Sarah’s story and to the callers who got in touch in the podcast here

Read: ‘It is a very humbling thing to act as a channel for people’s good will’>

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