Families in Cork sacrificing heating to buy presents amid concerns over stock shortages 

Families in Cork sacrificing heating to buy presents amid concerns over stock shortages 

Mr Garvey fears that recent panic buying as a result of global stock shortages has contributed to the significant rise in calls they are dealing with each week. Picture: Denis Minihane.

Families in Cork are sacrificing their heating to pay for Christmas gifts to ensure their children don’t miss out on valuable childhood memories.

That’s according to St Vincent de Paul’s southwest regional co-ordinator, Gerry Garvey who said that the charity has had families contact them in the past with no money left over for heating.

“When the meter goes they are saying ‘I’m in trouble because I no longer have heating in my house,” he said.

“This is an expensive time as we all know.

“It’s not that choosing presents over heating is a conscious decision but often people we speak to find that the money runs out before the week does.”

Mr Garvey made the comments following warnings for Irish consumers to start their Christmas shopping early.

This is due to Brexit-related stock shortages and the pandemic, among other factors.

Supply chain shortages contributing to rise in calls 

Global supply chain shortages have resulted in serious challenges for retailers, including concerns about the possibility of festive deliveries arriving late.

Mr Garvey fears that recent panic buying as a result of global stock shortages has contributed to the significant rise in calls they are dealing with each week.

St Vincent De Paul (SVP) received around 1,000 calls every week last month from people in Cork and Kerry desperately seeking assistance.

“Our best barometers of this are the people getting on to us looking for help,” he said.

“It doesn’t matter what kind of help they are looking for. It’s the volume of calls that is the biggest concern. There was a little of this last year, but Covid put a blanket on things. The expectations weren’t there and even the shops opened quite late. We’ll see it more so when we get to the end of November.

“A lot of the people we support are living from week to week. They can’t afford to think about next week.”

He said that parents always wanted to prioritise their children, particularly when it came to Christmas gifts.

“Last year the majority were planning quiet Christmases. Now, many are throwing caution to the wind and saying they just want to enjoy themselves.

“People will do anything for their children. We all go the extra mile in some way. Some will say they won’t go beyond a certain amount because they know the consequences. Others won’t have that same foresight.”

Charity bracing itself for difficult winter 

Mr Garvey highlighted cracks that are beginning to show in recent weeks.

“In the last few weeks, people are having to put on the heating more. It’s a cost they wouldn’t have had before,” he said.

“A lot of people, particularly those from middle-income households, find it difficult to accept the situation and admit that this is a problem because of shame.”

The SVP is bracing itself for a difficult winter.

“Even for those on comfortable incomes, there are concerns about Brexit, delays with logistics, Covid and a shortage of stock worldwide... It’s a volatile world we live in,” Mr Garvey said.

“Last year we had everyone, from people feeling the cold to those wanting their oil topped up. Now that embargoes are lifting reality is setting in and we can already see the direction we are heading in.”

SVP appeal 

The SVP is appealing to the public to help them through the next few months by donating to the charity.

A key part of SVP southwest’s fundraising is the charity’s annual car draw.

This year’s 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 free-post 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.

The draw will take on Wednesday, January 12, 2022.

For details on how to donate, go to www.SVP.ie .

More in this section

Sponsored Content

summersoaplogosml

Called Droid, our next story is about a boy who designs a robot at UCC and chaos ensues. It was written by Margaret Gillies, from the MA in Creative Writing Programme at UCC.

Add Echolive.ie to your home screen - easy access to Cork news, views, sport and more