‘Scandal of hungry people in city of plenty’: Christmas hamper appeal launched in Limerick

Ryan O’Rourke

Reporter:

Ryan O’Rourke

Attracta Mulryan, Northern Trust launches the Christmas Hamper Appeal at the Redemptorists, with Fr Seamus Enright, Jenny Walsh, Mid-West Simon Community and Susan Roche, SVP Picture: Oisin McHugh

Attracta Mulryan, Northern Trust launches the Christmas Hamper Appeal at the Redemptorists, with Fr Seamus Enright, Jenny Walsh, Mid-West Simon Community and Susan Roche, SVP Picture: Oisin McHugh

THE head of the Redemptorists in Limerick has said it is “scandalous that in a city of plenty, there are people hungry”.

Redemptorist Rector Fr Seamus Enright was speaking at the launch of the latest Christmas Hamper Appeal.

“Wherever there is hunger in the greater Limerick area, we try to help,” Fr Enright declared.

“The Redemptorists’ Christmas Hamper Appeal started in 1972. The aim then was a simple one, that there would be food on every table in Limerick on Christmas day.”

This year, the appeal was launched by Attracta Mulryan, Business Consultant at Northern Trust recently.

“We’re honoured and proud to launch the 2018 appeal and to partner with the Society of St Vincent de Paul and the Redemptorists for a sixth year,” said Ms Mulryan.

“This year’s appeal is an important one to Northern Trust as we look to help pack 6,000 hampers for distribution by the Society of St Vincent de Paul and other organizations in the lead up to Christmas.

“At Northern Trust we promote a culture of caring and commitment to invest in the communities we work within,” she added.

Fr Enright believes that Christmas often brings out the most generous side to people in Limerick.

“People are very generous. Christmas sparks something in people, it touches something deeply generous,” he explained.

“Last year people donated a little bit more than €240,000 on the run-up to Christmas. We funded the hampers out of that.”

The money that is left over is then put into a food poverty fund which is used throughout the year. Fr Enright believes it is important to remember there are those less fortunate this Christmas.

“People sometimes forget that Christmas isn’t just about getting the latest toys. They forget that some children won’t get any toys at all,” said Fr Enright. “So we give out toys too. Food for every table and a toy for every child. No child should go without.”

Fr Enright spoke about how the Hamper Appeal has grown over its 46-year history.

“I think it has become more complex, but in other ways easier to lead. Staff from Northern Trust and Grant Thornton will pack hampers for us. That’s a major piece of work,” said the Redemptorist Rector. “SVP will be the main distributors of the hampers across the city and the county. Other groups will handle the rest.

“It’s grown into a rather complex organisation. I think, working with Saint Vincent de Paul, and other groups, we are likely to distribute 6000 hampers,” he added.

Fr Enright is calling on the public to be generous and donate whatever they can.

“We are always looking for donations. Food, Money and toys. All of those can be sent to me at the Redemptorists. We cover the city and the county,” he explained.

“The farthest back is Abbeyfeale. We stretch a little bit over the county boundaries, into North Tipperary and that,” he added.

The  Redemptorists are also looking for anyone who would be interested in supporting their Sleep Out this year. 

“Last year for the first time we did a sleep out,” Fr Enright said.

“We are going to repeat this again on December 14 and 15. We are looking for people to support the sleep out,” he added.