Over 6,000 families in need to be given food hampers by St Vincent de Paul charity
By Mary Dennehy
MORE than 6,000 households across Tallaght, Clondalkin, Ballyfermot and Lucan will be given food hampers this Christmas by St Vincent De Paul, a growing demand which has prompted calls for the re-introduction of food banks into local communities.
Christmas has always been a busy time for local branches of St Vincent De Paul, however, in recent years volunteers have noticed a growing increase in food poverty, with families struggling to put basic food rations on the table.
Marie Cronin, the SVP area president for Clondalkin and Bally-fermot, told The Echo that nearly 3,000 households in Clon-dalkin, Lucan and Ballyfermot will receive food hampers this year while around 2,500 families and individuals in Tallaght will be fed, with more calls for food being made to the charity every day.
Marie said: “Food poverty is a huge issue –there are local families that can’t even meet basic food needs, and there’s lots of parents going without so they can feed their children.
“In the past, we helped families with Christmas clothes and toys, but now people have gone back to basics and are in desperate need of food and basic clothing such as coats and shoes. They’re not even thinking about toys – they just want to feed their kids.
“It’s very sad especially when you meet these families and you see that they are trying to make ends meet, they’re trying to hold onto their homes by paying their mortgages and bills, but that doesn’t leave much over for food and basic living costs.”
She added: “Some of the cases we have come across this year have really shocked us and there is talk at national level about setting up food banks schemes for families in Tallaght, Clondalkin, Lucan and Ballyfermot.
“Food banks collect surplus food from supermarkets and they do work, and are needed in our communities.”
By providing support to families, SVP is hoping to deter people from approaching loan sharks, with anybody in need of food, vouchers or clothing encouraged to contact the charity before approaching illegal money lenders.
“Anybody who needs help is encouraged to talk to their local priest, drop into the SVP shop in their area or call the charity,” Marie said.
“We are here to help, and while demands are high this year, with help from members of the public we will get Christmas hampers and items to those in need.”
Members of the public can support SVP by donating quality clothes items and gifts to their local SVP shop, leaving a gift under the charity’s ‘Giving Tree’ in the Liffey Valley Shopping Centre or donating food, vouchers or money.
Visit www.svp.ie for contact details.