By Sean Ryan - 03 December, 2016
A capacity crowd turned out to support the mid west regional launch of the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP) Annual Christmas Appeal recently.
The campaign entitled ‘Your Yes Can Last a Lifetime’ will run nationally until the end of this year, during which time 70 per cent of annual donations are expected to be received.
Speaking at the launch, Minister for Health Promotion, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy TD, said that “the very local nature of the membership of the Society has led to a high degree of goodwill and positive perception among the general public who know the kind of work done in every locality by SVP.”
She also noted “the very confidential nature of the work done and the importance of visitation in providing informal supports to people during times of difficulty.”
The regional president and member of the SVP National Management Council, Roscrea native John Lupton, spoke of the continued relevance of the society in today’s world despite the fact that it was founded 183 years ago.
John Lupton said the “ever increasing demand for SVP assistance is providing evidence of the on-going need and relevance of the Society today. Since SVP’s foundation the world has probably utterly changed but nothing has changed utterly.”
Michelle Putti, mid west regional co-ordinator, told attendees that so far in 2016 there had been 15,500 requests for assistance, all of which were answered.
The society was contacted for assistance by 3,000 people in 2016 and the most common requests were for food and vouchers. Requests for assistance at Christmas were received from 2,800 people.
Interestingly, in excess of 3,000 requests were for visits from SVP members, highlighting the importance of home visitation in tackling social isolation and exclusion.
Spending on assistance in the four counties of the mid west area came to €2,350,000 in 2015 and, apart from household assistance, educational grants and assistance with fuel featured strongly in terms of needs, as did homeless services, on which €150,000 was spent in the region in 2015.
SVP Mid West has two hostels providing accommodation for 60 homeless single men in Ennis and in Limerick city, and a drop-in service in the city providing laundry and showering facilities as well as meals to an average of 60–70 people daily who are either homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Additionally, the region has a prison conference providing weekly supports to prisoners and their families.
SVP confirmed that ‘Collection Sunday’ this year is scheduled nationally for Sunday 11 December.