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Over 90,000 calls were made to St Vincent de Paul last year from people seeking help with food

Energy and utility bills was another area of need for people, with almost 20,000 calls relating to such received by the charity.

OVER 90,000 calls were made to the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP) last year from people requesting help with food. 

Overall, the charity received over a quarter of a million calls for help to its regional offices and local conferences throughout the country in 2022. 

Energy and utility bills was another area of need for people, with almost 20,000 calls relating to such received by the charity. 

Another 33,000 calls were made by people struggling with both food and energy costs. 

The SVP charity said calls increased at specific times of the year with just over 34,000 calls from families who needed help at Christmas. 

Back to school costs, third level costs, household goods, furniture, clothing, support with health related costs, issues with mortgages and rent or funeral expenses made up the majority of the remaining 77,000 calls.

In the region of 30,000 people sought SVP help for the first time in 2023.

“Only a portion of people living in poverty and deprivation approach SVP for help and we know how hard it is to make that first call. But our support is here in a confidential and non-judgemental way and the only criteria for help is need,” SVP national president Rose McGowan said. 

“It is important to recognise that behind each of these statistics is a person or a family trying to tread water in a sea of rising living costs. The mental toll on people of ongoing financial difficulties, poverty and lack of certainty about the future is to the forefront of our work in communities,” McGowan said. 

“Despite the additional cost-of-living support payments made by the Government, there are many people who continue to struggle to meet basic family expenses. Our main concern at the moment is the number of households in arrears on their gas bills or those who cannot afford an oil fill. With another cold snap on the way, we are worried this situation will get worse as people try to manage debt and current usage costs.”

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