St. Vincent de Paul hold annual Christmas appeal

St. Vincent de Paul conferences all over Donegal will be holding their annual Christmas Appeal this weekend and are hoping that people will not pass their collection boxes at Churches without giving what they can so help those who will struggle this Christmas.

St. Vincent de Paul conferences all over Donegal will be holding their annual Christmas Appeal this weekend and are hoping that people will not pass their collection boxes at Churches without giving what they can so help those who will struggle this Christmas.

Fundraising events have been taking place all over the county for the past few weeks but “the success of this year’s appeal is more important than it has ever been” said Kevin Cooley, Vice President of Northwest Region of SVP.

“For the past three years members have been preparing for what they thought would be their toughest challenge to help every family and individual that would approach them for help. We just hope that people don’t tire of hearing this message because we are genuinely fearful that we will not have enough to help everyone that have already sought our help this Christmas.”

Since 2008 there has been a 42% increase in the number of people seeking assistance from St. Vincent de Paul in Donegal and of all of these cases 20% have not previously had the need to ask for help. Asking for help from St. Vincent de Paul has traditionally been something of a difficult step to take. The Society of SVP in Donegal, however, has experienced a shift in peoples’ thinking over the past year in relation to families and individuals seeking help from their organization. “SVP is now an option that people feel they can consider”, said Kevin Cooley. “For many people the need to seek financial help is a necessity that has been imposed upon them by today’s economic circumstances and is not now seen as their own doing so they are less embarrassed about approaching us now.”

Credit Union Initiative

Mr. Cooley welcomed the news last week that some Credit Unions in the county will be offering a very favourable loan package in an effort to dissuade people from approaching Money Lenders. Letterkenny Credit Union is offering members the option to borrow 1,000 euro at a total cost of 1,020 euro with Director, Denis O’Donnell saying that many people are struggling to meet the cost of Christmas and some other moneylenders are trying to take advantage of that. “SVP in the Northwest Region are very happy with the initiative and we are hoping that all Credit Unions in the county will join us in our efforts to help struggling families by offering the same or a similar loan offer,” said Kevin Cooley.

Give what you can

SVP members throughout Donegal appreciate that those who may have been in a position to give to their Christmas appeal in recent years may not be so free to do so this year.

“Last year we made a special appeal for people to be aware of those around them who will feel the financial pressure more than ever and the response we had was the most generous we have ever received. We are confident that this year will be no different. And while people may not have as much to give, hopefully they will think twice about passing SVP collection boxes at churches this weekend,” said Mr. Cooley.

The 2011 SVP annual Appeal will take place at Church gates throughout Donegal on Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th December. See your parish bulletin for details of dates at your church.

Don’t struggle alone

If you feel that St. Vincent de Paul could help you or your family this Christmas, or at any time during the year, please do not hesitate to contact any of its members personally or you can call the North West Regional S.V.P. Office on 074-9173933 and your request will be directed to a member in your area. Alternatively, you can visit the SVP website at www.svp.ie for more information or email svpnorthwest@gmail.com.