The regional president of the north west for St Vincent De Paul (SVP) said she was not surprised by the reported level of food poverty in Donegal.
Hungry for Action, a report by the Unite and Mandate trade unions, showed one in nine Donegal people was experiencing food poverty. The national average was one in 10.
“Certainly we are experiencing people who are in food poverty,” said SVP north west regional president, Rosa Glacken. “Donegal is a huge unemployment black spot and people suffering a reduction in wages are juggling money.”
She said many people are presented with stark choices: “Do you pay something off, or do you go without a meal to pay a bill?” The report showed 18,700 Donegal people are considered to be in food poverty, defined as missing a meal in the last two weeks due to lack of money; being unable to afford a meal with meat or vegetarian equivalent every second day; or being unable to afford a roast or vegetarian equivalent once a week.
“Here in Donegal we have seen an increase year on year since the beginning of the recession of people who never came to us before,” Rosa said. She said Donegal did not benefit from the so-called Celtic Tiger in the way other counties did. “We just didn’t benefit,” she said.
SVP has also seen a 20 to 25 per cent drop in donations nationally, though Rosa said, “The public is continuing to be as generous as they can.
“The simple fact is people don’t have as much to spare and while they are very supportive and we appreciate it, we are finding it a struggle because of the demand on us,” she said.
Anyone wishing to make a donation of food or money can contact the SVP Raphoe office, 074 9173933.