THE Mid-West region of the Society of St Vincent de Paul saw a 17% increase in the number of families and individuals seeking their assistance in the past year.
Launching its annual Christmas appeal, the society highlighted that in excess of €318,000 was spent in the Limerick city area last year assisting families and individuals with basic needs such as food, clothing and household items.
In addition, a further €115,000 was spent providing help with solid fuel, oil electricity and gas. A further €87,000 was spent in supporting education in particular third level education.
“In the past five years the requests for help have more than doubled and providing that help would not have been possible without the support of people who have been exceptionally generous with financial donations as well as providing food, clothing and toys at Christmas,” said a spokesperson.
“But despite an improving economy, our volunteers know that it can take just one small thing to tip a person into poverty. But also a little help at the right time can make all the difference,” they told the Limerick Leader.
In the run up to Christmas, their volunteers will visit over 140,000 people and help them with basics such as food, fuel and toys. The annual appeal is a crucial time for SVP to raise money, and almost 70% of their income is raised during this time.
“The funds we raise will not only help families this side of Christmas but well into 2016. This campaign brings to life what our volunteers see everyday – that it takes only one small incident, an unexpected event or a simple misunderstanding to tip someone into a cycle of crisis and poverty.
“At SVP we are asked for help thousands of times each day – but the simple fact remains - we can’t say yes without you. We are asking everyone once again to please support our annual appeal – the impact of this help can last a lifetime for someone.”