Jean had always lived a modest life. She grew up in a small country town, where she met her husband, Roy. They settled nearby and had three sons.
Roy worked in a low paying job and the family received Family Income Supplement. They just about managed.
In the recession, Roy lost his job and as a result the family also lost the Family Income Supplement. They had to wait almost four weeks for the first social welfare payment. The family has a mortgage, but they managed to negotiate a break with the banks, so their monthly repayments were cut in half.
The couple's youngest son, James, has special needs and requires full-time care. This prevents Jean from getting a part-time job.
The family lives in the countryside and they had two cars. But they had to give one up and can't even afford to tax the one they kept. The family travels back roads to get the children to school and to visit an elderly and ill grandmother to avoid meeting the Gardaí. All the cloak and dagger driving has made Jean a nervous wreck.
At home, she moves tinned food from the cupboard to the fridge to make it look full in front of the children. She buys food just going out of date as it's cheaper. Her first worry every morning is what the family will eat today.
“I feel like I have aged ten years from all the stress,” says Jean. “Our lives have changed so much these past few years. I worry for my husband too. I’m afraid one day the pressure of everything will just push him over the edge. I’m at a loss as to what’s happening to my family.”
Thankfully, Jean reached out to her local Conference of St. Vincent de Paul. Through kind support such as yours, they were able to visit the family and offer them some relief. Volunteers sat with Jean and Roy, listened to their worries and gave them the comforting reassurance they needed.
You were there for Jean and Roy too.
Kind donations such as yours were used to fill the empty fridge. No matter what lay ahead, Jean knew the family would not go hungry.
"I used to think nobody cared. Long days turning into longer nights – dreading the postman who only brings bad news. Cupboards and drawers full of unopened letters with demands for this bill and that bill. The SVP volunteers listened and gave us hope. With their help in giving us a hand up, we might just make it."
With all the prospects an improving economy might bring, Jean holds on to hope. She hopes Roy will find a full-time job again. She hopes her eldest son will do well in school and get a place in college. She hopes James will always get the care he needs…
And while she holds on to hope, you are there to hold her up.
Through the kind donations you make to SVP, you give families living on the edge a safety net. You will be there to catch them if they fall. For this selfless support, big or small, we want to thank you each and every day.
Please consider a gift today and help ensure people like Jean and her family receive the support they need. Thank you.
Based on a true story from a family helped by SVP. Names and some details have been changed for confidentiality.