This Winter we have seen rising costs across the board, from electricity to the price of food. These increases affect us all but they can have a devastating impact on those more vulnerable.
Charities such as St. Vincent De Paul are having to work even harder to help those in need this year.
Seamus McManus, Galway President of St.Vincent De Paul, revealed that the organisation has seen more requests for help this year.
“We have more requests for fuel, for oil, and help generally,” he said, speaking to Galway Pulse.
“We have seen a big increase in demand and we think that’ll probably be even greater after Christmas,” he continued.
This increase comes amid the current cost of living crisis, in which we are seeing prices rise exponentially.
SVP has 26 conferences in the Galway area, from Oranmore to Clifden. A conference is similar to a committee and is usually made up of 5 to 6 volunteers.
The Ballybane conference runs a food hub that supplies food hampers to those in need.
“The food hub gets donations from excess food that’s left over from supermarkets and then the committee in Ballybane buy some fresh food and distribute that,” Mr McManus said.
They also rely on donations of food from people who might’ve donated while shopping in the past. However, there is a decrease in this.
“Donations are down in the hub, people are buying less they’re tight themselves and they’re not able to donate food,” Mr McManus explained.
The housing crisis is exacerbating these problems.
“It is very hard to get residents any accommodation in Galway at the moment. A lot of students would be looking for help now at the moment as well because they might find that they can’t find reasonable accommodation and they have to go to the college and pay a lot of money for it there,” he said.
Mr McManus explained that housing is the biggest problem they encounter now while working with people.
“If you go on the housing list in Galway now you can wait 14 years to get accommodation,
“I mean a family would be gone out of the nest at that stage,” he said.
The SVP is under pressure to meet the needs of the people they’re helping and they are also in need of more volunteers.
“What we do need is a little bit of help at the volunteer level, particularly some male volunteers, but anyone would be welcome. Not just for helping with visitation but things like social media and that as well,” he said.
To find out more you can visit the St Vincent De Paul website here.