Read time 02 mins

Cutting back on food to pay for school

Jennifer is a volunteer visiting families in Cork. At this time of year, struggling with the costs of back-to-school is the biggest issue. Every year, there seems to be more and more families who just can’t manage it anymore. If not for the support of donors such as you, Jennifer doesn’t know what they would do.

“I was with a family the other night that have two children in primary school and two in secondary,” Jennifer begins. “The registration fees alone are adding up to €620! The schools want them in before the children go back. This family relies on welfare to get by, sure where are they supposed to get that sort of money? And then their youngest child will be starting school next year.”

Often when families have big expenses such as this, we see the thing they cut back on is food. Jennifer and her Conference gave the family some support towards the school fees. Then she had a chat with the mother about receiving a food hamper. There is a food bank now in Cork that is run by SVP volunteers, thanks to donors such as you. It receives donations of excess food from local supermarkets. They currently prepare over 200 hampers each week and deliver to local families.

“Normally this family only comes to us for help a few times a year. The mother is very strong and doesn’t like the kids knowing they get support. But the presses were so bare this time I visited. She finally agreed to take a hamper once a week and the volunteers would only deliver when the kids were in school.”

"It's tough going on them. I mean this family are really living hand to mouth. So there'll be no summer holidays, not even any summer clothes. The sun is shining out there at the moment but there's no way this woman can afford to buy five pairs of shorts. There's just no wriggle room in her budget. She's already trying to save every spare cent for schoolbooks and uniforms for September."

Based on a true story from a family helped by SVP. Names and some details have been changed for confidentiality.

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