‘Impossible choices’ annual appeal launch

By Aideen O'Flaherty

THE Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP) launched their Annual Appeal last week with a theme of ‘impossible choices’ – reflecting the hardship that many people are facing as we head into the festive season.

Nationally, SVP received almost 122,000 requests for help between January and November this year, and the charity is appealing to people to donate to them as the Christmas season gets into full swing.

SVP 1

SVP national president Rose McGowan at the announcement of the St Vincent de Paul Annual Appeal last week with siblings Matthew and Elodie Curry

Launching the Annual Appeal, Rose McGowan, SVP National President, said: “With Christmas approaching we expect that number [of people looking for help] to increase substantially and exceed 160,000.

“When Christmas comes around, we all have to make lots of choices – what presents to buy? What food for the Christmas dinner?

“But for those who struggle to make ends meet there are additional, sometimes impossible, choices.

“Do I borrow or go without? How can I make Christmas a happy time for my children and pay the bills? Do I buy essentials or heat the house?”

Ms McGowan added that this year is going to be particularly difficult for the charity, as the need for donations has increased yet the avenues for procuring donations – such as through church gate collections and selling items in their charity shops – have had to cease as a result of the pandemic.

RTÉ star Ryan Tubridy, who in previous years has launched the SVP Annual Appeal in person said: “Poverty is never easy to confront and yet, every Christmas it is impossible to ignore.

“Never has it been so important as in 2020 in the middle of a pandemic, and when people are on their knees wondering what to do next, wondering how to pay the next bill, or fill the schoolbag with books, and how they will feed their family every night.

“These are basic human rights but for too many of our fellow citizens life isn’t fair. And that’s where we come in.

“You, me, and anyone who can afford to offer a hand up to people who deserve so much better. It’s not easy for everyone to donate, but if you can every cent is appreciated. All of the funds raised will take an enormous amount of pain from the shoulders of so many.”

This year anyone donating to SVP online or by phone will have the opportunity to direct their donations to a specific locality in the country.

Ms McGowan said: “This will enable those who may previously have donated to their local SVP Conference at a church gate collection to donate online or over the phone to that Conference instead.”

“Also as physical visits to people’s homes are not happening, the ability of the Society to deliver food hampers or toys is limited.

“So, in addition to financial donations, SVP is appealing for vouchers which can be exchanged for food and gifts of all kinds: toys, books, music, clothing etc.”

Donations can be made online at svp.ie and you can nominate your local area, by phone on 0818 176 176, or by post to SVP, PO Box 1234, Dublin 1, cheques made payable to ‘Society of St. Vincent de Paul’ or direct to a regional office, addresses can be found on www.svp.ie.

SVP’s blue envelopes for collecting donations will also be in newspapers, churches and delivered to homes around the country.

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