'Worried' | 

St Vincent de Paul receiving 800 calls a day ahead of Christmas period

In 2021, the charity received a record 191,000 phone calls requesting aid and are expecting this figure to be exceeded this winter.

St Vincent de Paul's Annual Appeal was launched on Monday© Fennell Photography

Neasa CumiskeySunday World

The Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP) is receiving around 800 calls for help every day, it has been revealed.

In 2021, the charity received a record 191,000 phone calls requesting aid and are expecting this figure to be exceeded this winter, with 168,000 requests already received to the end of October – a 19pc increase on the same time last year.

As SVP prepares for the busy Christmas season, SVP National President Rose McGowan said that families are having to make “impossible choices” between basic necessities like food and energy.

She added that, despite the additional cost-of-living support payments introduced as part of Budget 2023, there are still many people who are struggling to make ends meet.

“The cost-of-living measures such as the one-off Fuel Allowance, double social welfare, child benefit and state pension payments will help low-income households during what will be a very difficult winter, but these measures are only temporary,” Ms McGowan said at the launch of SVP’s Annual Appeal.

“We are very worried that many of these families will continue to struggle into next year.

“In the coming months, the cost-of-living crisis will hit different households in different ways, particularly with the rising costs of food, energy and housing.

“Add in Christmas costs, and you can see how difficult life will be for those on fixed incomes, whether that income comes through the State or from low-paid employment.”

She continued: “Those hardest hit will include one parent-families, low-income workers; households on fixed social welfare incomes; low-income households in rural areas; people with disabilities and their carers.

“They are all facing impossible choices this Christmas and into the new year. That is why we are seeking donations to help families pay for food, heat their homes and ensure their children get a decent Christmas.

“We are asking people to please donate whatever they can spare at either a local collection, online or over the phone to help people who are struggling now and will continue to struggle through this winter and into the new year.”

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