The Society of St Vincent de Paul has launched its Annual Appeal with an evening of seasonal songs performed by Malachi Cush, Margaret Keys and Fr Martin O’Hagan.
Upon launching the Annual Appeal, the charity has revealed that it has provided more than £30 million in assistance to families and individuals in the past decade. As Christmas approaches, SVP estimates that up to 50,000 people may seek the charity’s help this winter as its regional office in Belfast is already receiving 200 calls for help a day.
This year’s Annual Appeal is focused on providing help to struggling parents who wonder how they will provide a Happy Christmas for their families. The campaign is entitled “The Wonder of Christmas” and subtitled “Will we have Christmas at all”.
Launching this year’s SVP Annual Appeal in the Northern Region, Mary Waide, Regional President for the Northern Region said: “The theme of this year’s St Vincent de Paul Annual Appeal reflects the questions our volunteers face most regularly and particularly at this time of the year. They include; ‘I wonder how I’m going to afford heating? I wonder will I have enough for food and toys? I wonder do the kids know we are struggling? I wonder how it is affecting them? I wonder how we got into this situation? I wonder if we will ever get us out of it? I wonder if you can help me?
“The calls for help to our regional office and local Conference helplines continue to increase every day. Last year we provided £5m in assistance, up 43% on the year before and with 200 calls a day for help already this year, I believe we are sadly on track to exceed that number again, as families are continually facing impossible choices and our recently launched report ‘Beyond Breaking Point’ shows that 80% of SVP volunteers in Northern Ireland have experienced a monumental surge in requests for help this year to date.”
Mary added: “We need to remember that last year every household received a one off payment from the government but this year only some people will receive an additional payment so there are many people who continue to struggle to meet basic family expenses on a day to day basis. This struggle becomes even more difficult on special occasions such as Christmas.
“In our experience of carrying out home visitation in the heart of local communities across Northern Ireland, those hardest hit include one parent-families, low-income workers; households on fixed incomes; low-income households in rural areas; people with disabilities and their carers. That is why we are appealing for donations so we can provide vouchers to give families the gift of choice and the dignity to decide how to use these vouchers. They can be used to pay for food, heat their homes and ensure their children enjoy the wonder of Christmas.“
Ways to donate:
Christmas Jumper Day: SVP is encouraging schools, clubs, workplaces, families and friends to host their own Christmas Jumper Day to help raise funds across Northern Ireland. More information can be found here: svp.ie/christmasjumperday
The Gift of Choice: SVP is asking everyone for vouchers so that families and individuals can buy their own food, clothes, toys and gifts for their children based on what their children are asking Santa for. To support the Northern Gift of Choice campaign visit: svp.ie/fundraiser/north-region-gift-of-choice-appeal/
Online: svp.ie and nominate your local area
By phone: 028 9075 0161 and nominate your local area
By post: to SVP, 196-200 Antrim Road, Belfast, BT15 2AJ, cheques made payable to ‘Society of St Vincent de Paul’
Blue envelopes: Keep an eye out for special blue envelopes available in churches.
SVP is an international charity and the largest voluntary charity in Ireland. SVP is committed to promoting self-sufficiency and working diligently for social justice.
Dedicated SVP volunteers tirelessly work across all communities to support individuals, regardless of their background, who are battling poverty and social exclusion.