GENEROUS Irish Independent readers have helped St Vincent de Paul stay on track to match the amount of money it raised last year in its annual Christmas appeal.
Ireland's largest voluntary charity has said that online donations during the week of the Irish Independent/SVP appeal had increased day by day between December 3 and 8.
Despite a sharp fall in the disposable income available to most people, our readers once again put their hands in their pockets to help some of the most needy and vulnerable in society.
The organisation is still collating final figures but is hopeful of at least matching last year's annual income of €80m.
Part of that has come from the €10.5m raised through a series of church-gate collections in 2012.
Last night, Geoff Meagher, SVP's national president, thanked the readers of the Irish Independent for their support.
"During the week of the Irish Independent/SVP Appeal we saw the level of online donations rise day by day.
"We are very grateful to the Irish Independent for its involvement and to everyone who supported the appeal.
"We appreciate the thought behind each one, whether it is just a few euro from a child or person who themselves are struggling, or a larger amount from corporate donors. We make good use of every single donation."
Mr Meagher added: "We understand that in many circumstances the value of individual donations may have to be reduced reflecting the continuing loss of disposable income to many donors.
"Outside of financial donations we continue to receive very welcome donations of food and toys. All donations will continue to be valued and needed into the new year as January and February usually bring a further influx of calls for help.
"In the Dublin region alone last week almost 4,000 calls were received looking for help, up significantly on previous years. This level of increase is reflected in all our other regional offices and we expect a further increase in requests for support as the effects of Budget 2013 take effect next year."
This year, the Irish Independent has partnered the St Vincentde Paul charity in an appeal to our readers to give generouslyto those living in difficult circumstances. Your help is vital
1. Send a cheque to SVP, PO Box 1234, Dublin 1, made payable to Society of St. Vincent de Paul National Council.
2. Pay direct to Bank of Ireland, Phibsborough, Dublin 7 to St. Vincent De Paul Council of Ireland. A/C Number: 80005599. Sort Code: 90-06-23
3. Call the SVP National Office on 01 8386990
4. Text SVP to 57500 (Terms & Conditions apply)
5. If you prefer to give locally you can send cheques to a regional office. Addresses can be found on www.svp.ie