The raw reality of Covid-19 has touched the lives of all of us in recent months. A significant number of people have contracted the virus and, unfortunately, some have died because of it. The grieving process for a wide range of people has been curtailed because of the restrictions imposed. The familiar pattern of community and family support has all but evaporated. Limitations have been imposed on us and our entire way of life has been turned upside down since mid-March.
With businesses closed and staff laid off, the Government has provided support for many. This has ensured that the essential things in life, food, heating, clothing and housing are provided for, if in some cases in a limited way. However, some people fall between the cracks in this support system and depend on others, such as the Society of St Vincent de Paul, for assistance. A recent survey findings show that:
– 14 per cent of the population, around 680,000 people are living in poverty.
– About 110,000 workers are at risk of poverty – 5.1 per cent of those who are employed.
– Approximately 200,000 children (15.9 per cent) of children are living in poverty in Ireland today – these children are living in families with incomes below the poverty line.
– Almost one in 10 pensioners is living in poverty (11.4 per cent).
– Those not employed due to illness or a disability have one of the highest poverty rates with almost one in every two (47.7 per cent) of this group with an income below the poverty line.
For the greater part, poverty in our community is hidden behind closed doors. It is there that its dark, insidious presence makes itself felt in cold rooms, bad food and an atmosphere which dampens mental and physical wellbeing.
The Society of St Vincent de Paul has been the flagship of care in our community for decades. Unfortunately, the restrictions imposed on all of us apply to them also. As a result, they are unable to do what they normally do. While the Foodbank continues to operate, the amount of food received from Food Cloud has reduced due to the restrictions imposed.
What kind of Christmas will 2020 be? Will we be able to go to Mass? Will we be able to buy presents for each other? Will we be able to meet each other? For many people living in ‘hidden poverty’ the questions are more basic; will I be able to stay warm? Will I be able to give my children a Christmas like most other children in this area? You and I can answer these questions by the donations we give to the Annual Christmas Appeal for the Society.
With churches closed, Church Gate Collection not taking place, generous donors limited in what they can give and other fundraising cancelled, you may ask; how can I give? You can donate by contacting them by email at firstname.lastname@example.org You can phone the office on 096-72905 or send a donation to Teeling Street or drop it in to the office. You can setup a monthly or an annual donation from your bank account. In fact, all you need to do is lift a finger. St. Vincent de Paul will be delivering a Blue Collection Envelope to all households in the Ballina area through An Post during the first week in December. This can be left in to the office in Teeling Street.