THIS festivey season, more than 5,000 food hampers will have beeen delivered to families in need in Limerick city and county, thanks to strong community efforts made throughout the Redemptorist Hamper Appeal.
Redemptoris Rector Fr Seamus Enright, who organised the initiative this year, said the aim has always been to ensure that “there will be no home in the city or the county without food at Christmas”.
The thousands of hampers were donated by local businesses and community groups countywide, with “generous” assistance from the Society of St Vincent de Paul and volunteers from Northern Trust.
After packing 1,800 hampers with SVP, Fr Enright said that the public had been “hugely generous” this year, but he would be “happier if the symptoms of poverty were dealt with” in Limerick.
“There are people who would have donated years ago, who are now receiving hampers this year. We are seeing children going to school hungry. We see families that can’t afford to pay their mortgages and that are under terrible pressure.”
He added that Christmas “buzz” can make those affected by poverty feel worse.
“But when the narrative shifts and is about things improving, as you’re still going down, it does make you feel worse. I think Christmas puts huge pressure on people. The atmosphere is upbeat. When you go into town there is a bit of buzz. But if you don’t have any money, the buzz makes it worse.”
Lorraine Moroney, who has been working on the food appeal for six years, said that there are children who “wake up on Christmas morning, and there is no Christmas in the house. It is just another morning”.