Credit of featured image: svp.ie
The following news article was written on the 4th December 2020:
SVP Ireland recently launched their annual December appeal, “impossible choices” in order to support those in need this Christmas. In response to covid-19, this year’s appeal has been reimagined with a much more virtual approach. Contactless donations can now be made in specific retail shops such as Brown Thomas and Arnotts. The appeal also encourages online donations and offers doners the ability to specify the region in Ireland they would like their donation to benefit, maintaining the organization’s localised focus.
The total of 234 SVP shops throughout Ireland were forced to close for the majority of this year due to covid-19. The organisation was also unable to carry out its usual church collections, making it one of the most challenging years in its history. In an article published in The Irish Times in November, SVP National President Rose McGowan spoke of the significant number of requests for help the organization received this year. She also added, “With Christmas approaching we expect that number to increase substantially”.
As due to safety concerns, home visitations and delivery of hampers or toys have been limited. In coherence with this SVP are appealing for donations of vouchers which can be exchanged for food or gifts or all kinds such as toys, books, clothing, etc. The campaigns running as part of the appeal are aimed at children and preventing parents from having to make “impossible choices” this Christmas. The Empty Plate Campaign invites donations of non-perishable food items to local Eurospar stores. Similarly, the Empty Toy box Campaign encourages visits to your local SVP shop to buy an empty toy box for €5.00. All donations will be used in the community to help ensure that children and families have what they need during this difficult time.
SVP Ireland Press & Media Executive, Jim Walsh, commented on the initial positive results of the appeal in a recent press conference. However, covid-19 has intensified certain challenges such as food, maintaining why campaigns such as The Empty Plate Campaign are of significant importance. According to a recent media statement from SVP, of the 160,000 calls the organisation received last year approximately 50,000 from people in need of food. Prior to lockdown, children had been getting fed in schools which means that many families had to deal with the costs of a larger food intake. During the period in which schools were closed many families would also have had additional heating and childcare costs. Mr. Walsh reiterated the Organisation’s appeal for help at the end of one of the most difficult years in the history of SVP. “We want everyone to get on to svp.ie, and please help! You’ll find all the information you need there.”
With regard to the new digital approach to this year’s December appeal Mr. Walsh also commented on the continuous efforts of SVP to engage with younger members of society. He mentioned the importance of Young SVP which have a large presence in most third level institutions across the country and are committed to youth development, positive social action and offering young people a better understanding of social justice. SVP National President Rose McGowan is only the second female president in the 176-year history of the organisation.