It was late on a Thursday evening in winter when Louise first called SVP. Her house had just been flooded by a torrential downpour that had damaged the heating. With a young baby to care for, Louise was at her wit's end.
The woman at the end of the line explained that local Conferences usually only visit once a week on a Tuesday. Louise understood. But within an hour there was a knock on her door, and two local volunteers were there to help.
She was never so happy to see anyone.
Louise had only recently moved into the house with her seven-month-old son and had to put down new floors and kitchen tiles. And now this was all destroyed. Recently made redundant from her last job, Louise was really going to struggle with all these new bills.
That's where volunteer Marie and the local SVP conference came to her rescue. Using donations from compassionate supporters such as you, they were able to give her vouchers for food shopping and to get some new household items in her local Vincent's shop.
"I was amazed and so appreciative," says Louise, "and I couldn't thank Marie enough for coming out to help me."
But the story didn't end there.
Prior to needing the help of SVP, Louise had decided to return to college to further her education. She had always had a passion for computers and technology and had been accepted for a place on an IT course in DIT. But juggling the costs and stresses of being a single parent and studying full-time was very daunting.
"A few weeks into college, I was finding that at the end of each month when all the direct debits and bills were taken out, I was left with literally nothing, like nothing. I didn't even have money for shopping. I was even stuck for nappies sometimes, and that's when I had to call SVP again."
"Marie came out to visit me and she has been wonderful. She has been a big supporter of mine and I know she cares. She really encouraged me to stay in college and to get my qualification. I really wouldn't have been able to do it without Marie and the other volunteers."
Thanks to the grace and generosity of SVP's supporters, Louise was able to stay in college and complete her two-year course.
And then one day, as she was coming to the end of her course, Louise visited Marie with the best news.
"Oh Marie," she said with excitement, "I'm after getting a job… and I won't be needing your help anymore!"
"She was so thrilled and delighted for me and my son," Louise recalls, "but she said, 'Keep in touch, make sure you keep in touch'. And we have been keeping in touch, you know, since I started work. It's to her that I owe everything to. I can't describe what it was like to see the smile on her face when I came to tell her the news that day."
As someone who has benefitted from a little help at the right time, and had her life transformed, there is no better person than Louise to tell you about the difference your support of SVP makes:
"I would just like to thank the donors and tell them how SVP are the backbone of all our communities. Whether it's for homeless, whether it's just for the normal, everyday working person who just needs a dig out in that particular time or whether it's for a young girl or boy starting college, SVP help everyone, and they are so important in the community."
"A lot of communities would find extreme hardship and difficulty if SVP weren't there. These men and women who dedicate their time and hard work to SVP – it's just amazing. They help everyone, whether it's financial or just to sit there and listen to an elderly person or someone who is going through a difficult situation. They're there. And if SVP were to pack up and leave the community, I don’t know what would happen to a lot of people. What SVP do and stand for is just so wonderful, and without them I wouldn't be where I am today."
Please consider a gift today and help ensure people like Louise receive the support they need. Thank you.