Demand at the St. Vincent de Paul food bank in Cherry Orchard has grown so much that each week volunteers have to decide which families will go without food parcels.
The charity doesn’t have enough groceries to cover the number of people asking for help in the west Dublin community and is therefore handing out baskets to some customers every two weeks instead of the usual weekly packet.
The Tafel, which opened in 2017, mostly met the demand and offered the needy a food basket worth 60 euros every week. But a spike in requests amid rising costs of living means some people using the service only get a gift basket every two weeks.
St. Vinzenz von Paul (SVP) is now also reporting on a relatively new phenomenon that young families with two working parents make use of their services because they have difficulties paying the household bills despite having two incomes.
The Cherry Orchard Food Bank normally gives out more than 100 packages a week and now that’s nowhere near enough to meet the increasing demand. In all, SVP delivers food baskets to more than 700 families across Dublin every week and makes hundreds more home visits with other forms of support for people who may be struggling to pay bills or cover other expenses.
“They have to take action at Cherry Orchard because the demand there is so great that one person cannot come back even every week. They get the stuff every two weeks because we can’t cope with the demand,” says Marie Cronin, SVP Regional President East.
Food banks in West Dublin have been around for years, but Ms Cronin said demand fell in the 2000s after the Liffey Valley Shopping Center in particular created many jobs in the area.
“But in the last five years we’ve really noticed the need again,” she says.
The SVP is also handing out Christmas vouchers to those in need and the number of calls for help ahead of the holidays has charities “quite alarmed”.
“We typically have around 40 requests for vouchers at this point, but we’ve already received more than double that and we’re still in November. This has never happened to us. We actually ran out of vouchers. We thought the demand for the vouchers this year could be twice as high as usual. I now reckon it will be more than triple what we are used to.
“We also see that working couples need to come to us. Their problems usually stem from Covid and they got into mortgage or rent arrears because one or both worked in hospitality and/or construction and they no longer had a job to go to.
“Now they’re trying to settle the arrears and they’re fighting,” she said.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/we-cant-cope-with-the-demand-st-vincent-de-paul-food-bank-forced-to-alternate-which-families-get-a-weekly-parcel-42186827.html ‘We can’t handle the demand’ – The St Vincent de Paul food bank is forced to rotate which families receive a weekly package