'People are in dire need of assistance': St Vincent De Paul helping thousands of Cork families

'People are in dire need of assistance': St Vincent De Paul helping thousands of Cork families

Pictured on the Cork/Kerry border marking the expansion of the SVP South-West Annual Car Draw from Cork into Kerry for the first time are Most Rev. Fintan Gavin, Bishop of Cork and Ross; Paddy O'Flynn, South-West Regional President of St. Vincent de Paul and Laura Jane Redmond of CAB Motor Company. Pic: Brian Lougheed

AROUND 1,000 calls a week were made to St Vincent De Paul (SVP) last month from people in Cork and Kerry desperately seeking assistance in the run up to Christmas.

Those involved with the charity say that families have been struggling to cover essential utility bills such as gas, electricity, and fuel due to recent price increases.

SVP South-West regional president Paddy O’Flynn said that callers also voiced concern about significant arrears with utility suppliers. This follows the lifting of an embargo that prevented people from being cut off during the pandemic.

He revealed that the staggering volume of calls from people seeking assistance comes at a time of unprecedented pressure on the charity’s core services.

The organisation continues to provide up to 4,530 homes across Cork and Kerry with regular coal deliveries throughout the winter.

It is also currently delivering approximately 350 food hampers every week to families in need through the SVP Cork and Kerry hamper projects.

Embargos lifted

Mr O’Flynn described how the lifting of embargos has impacted their service users.

“Embargos on evictions and cutting off electricity and gas supplies during the pandemic have been lifted and we are receiving calls daily from people in dire need of assistance,” he said.

“Providing coal and fuel support during the winter months to families is a huge part of our work and while we are not a homeless charity, we do a lot of work behind the scenes to prevent people from losing their homes.

“This has been another exceptionally challenging year for SVP South-West but particularly for the families and individuals we support. We depend on the generosity of our many donors and we’re asking them to support us once again, if at all possible, in the coming weeks.”

Public support needed

A total of 80% of SVP’s core fundraising is now conducted between October and December with traditional church collections only starting up again recently.

Mr O’Flynn described this year’s fundraising efforts as “critically important”.

Speaking ahead of the launch of the SVP South-West Annual Car Draw he added: “The public has always been extremely generous to us. Last year, we were blown away by the support we received during such a difficult time. However, we are deeply concerned that there is a perception that the difficulty and challenges that we faced last year have somewhat diminished with the re-opening of society.

“Unfortunately, if anything, our need for support from the public this year is greater as we face further pressure and demands on the core services we provide — food, shelter and education. Poverty affects people in different ways, and we have received calls from all walks of life seeking our help as the cold winter months draw in.

“Our fundraising needs remain consistently high, and we are once again turning to online appeals. We are extremely grateful for any support that we receive. Each and every donation will make a difference and we want to take this opportunity to thank the people of Cork and Kerry for all of their support this year to date,” Mr O’Flynn said.

Fundraising draw

Car draw tickets and free post return envelopes will be delivered to households across Cork and Kerry with an option to purchase tickets online also available.

Tickets are priced at €5 each and can be returned in the Freepost SVP envelope or to the SVP Regional Office at Ozanam House, 2 Tuckey Street, Cork. Tickets can also be purchased online at https://app.galabid.com/svpcardraw

This year’s prize is a brand-new Ford Focus donated by CAB Motor Company. There will also be six other cash prizes. Midday on Friday, January 7, 2022 is the final date for entries.

The draw will take on Wednesday, January 12, 2022 at CAB Motor Company showrooms.

Details of the winners will be published on www.SVP.ie

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