UP to 5,000 calls for help are expected to be made to the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP) from families in Cork over the winter months, the charity has said.
Nationally, 50,000 families in financial difficulty are expected to seek help. The charity expects to receive between 4,000 and 5,000 calls from families and individuals struggling with financial difficulties in Cork alone, according to SVP South West regional coordinator Gerry Garvey.
“We’re also expecting to assemble 3,000 Christmas hampers this year,” Mr Garvey told the Echo.
Typically, the charity delivers approximately 200 hampers per week but this is expected to increase during the Christmas season.
With 2,600 hampers distributed during Christmas 2016, the charity is expecting to deliver 400 more hampers this year. This is mainly due to both a slight increase in demand as well as more families learning about the service, he added.
SVP Christmas hampers include non-perishable staples like pasta, rice and tinned food as well as festive goods like sweets, turkey and bacon. Donations for the hampers come mainly through food distribution networks, donations from the public and the EU FEAD scheme, Mr Garvey explained.
“The donations come from a number of sources and our staff and lots of volunteers will do the nuts and bolts of it, assembling each hamper.”
The charity is urging those who can to make a donation to help families and individuals in need across the country. “We’re always looking for help, especially in the run-up to Christmas,” said Mr Garvey.
Tickets are on sale for SVP Cork’s annual car drive in which a 2018 Ford Focus donated by CAB Motors is up for grabs. The draw takes place on December 22. Donations are also needed to SVP’s food appeal and ‘Giving Tree’ campaigns. Donations can be made to the charity online at https://www.svp.ie/Get-Involved/Donate/Single-Donation.aspx.