Ireland is one of the top 5 richest countries but 16pc still live below the poverty line, says SVP
This Christmas, St. Vincent de Paul is receiving an average of 1,000 calls a day from people seeking help.
SVP offers direct, personal assistance that is non-judgemental and based on the need of the individual or family.
In addition, they provide a wide range of services for vulnerable people through local offices, shops, resource centres, housing, daycare and holiday schemes amongst other things.
Unsurprisingly, Christmas is a particularly tough time for many people and SVP are appealing to the public for donations to help those in need.
SVP National President, Kieran Stafford said although Ireland is among the top five richest countries in the world,
"We still have over 16 percent of the population (780,000 people) living below the poverty line."
"Poverty in Ireland in 2018 takes many forms, and is primarily driven by low income and lack of access to good quality jobs and affordable housing, health, education and childcare."
Christmas is a time that people can seriously accrue debt and Mr Stafford encouraged people who are in trouble to avail of the charity, saying:
"We would urge anyone who is struggling, particularly with the cost of education, fuel and food to come to SVP for help."
The theme of this year's SVP appeal is Save Someone From A Life Of Poverty and was officially launched by Ryan Tubridy. This Christmas, SVP has put children at the heart of its Annual Appeal and Mr Stafford said that is because they are the most vulnerable and should not suffer because society has got things so wrong.
In a press release issued by the charity, they included real-life stories (concealing their identities) from people who have availed of SVP services and the narratives are harrowing.
Two brothers, aged 16 and 18 were forced to leave their home due to unlivable conditions. They stayed on friends couches and both worked part-time to save for a deposit to rent a place of their own - the older of the two in sixth year at the time. SVP helped the boys with their heating and provided food and transport costs.
"We would have frozen that winter without the help of SVP. It was also a huge relief knowing that we had someone to talk to as we had never opened up about our family situation. The help we got from SVP changed our lives. Without this help we could have been on the street", said the elder brother.
Have you chosen your Christmas Cards yet? You can order an SVP one now and send it to your customers instead of buying a gift, while in turn helping a local family in need. https://t.co/rP7IArU2sU **Orders must be placed before 3pm on Monday 17th December** #svpireland pic.twitter.com/njw3EDWy81
— SVP - Ireland (@SVP_Ireland) December 13, 2018
A single mum who lost her job also availed of the service, which helped her with necessities like medical care and education expenses. She said the charity was also an incredible source of emotional support:
"They were always there for me in my time of need and have become very good friends."
To make a donation, fundraise or volunteer, check out the SVP website for more info.