THIS week sees the St Vincent de Paul carrying out the biggest fundraising drive of the year as the society's annual collection before Christmas takes place.
Sean Creaney, the Vice-President of the Dublin Region, was visiting Wicklow this week to try and drum up some support for the campaign
'We need help from everyone. People have always been very generous with their support for us and we thank them for that while asking for their continued support. We are also calling on any people in need to come forward. It doesn't matter what race, religion or creed you are. At St. Vincent de Paul we don't discriminate. If you have a need then we can help.'
The amount of work carried out by St. Vincent de Paul has almost doubled since the economy collapsed in 2008. By Sean's estimate the amount of people being assisted by the society since 2008 has gone up between 40 and 50 per cent. In 2011 the local St. Patrick's conference spent €84,000 on helping people. This year €105,000 has already been spent.
"The SUSI grant delays have also caused problems as families were reliant on that income. We have a lot of people coming to us because of the back-log in the delivery of these grants. In some cases people are going to money lenders, which is the worst thing you could do," adds Sean.
At this time of year St. Vincent de Paul are on the hunt for donated clothes, toys and non-perishable foods. The organisation is also always in need of volunteers and helpers to visit homes, hospitals and prisons.
Bucket collections are also taking placed throughout the county.
Louis McCall, the President of the St, Vincent de Paul Wicklow area says, ' all the monies collected stay locally. We also have no admin charges so if you donate €5 then €5 will be passed on. You can make your own donations through local churches, the website svp.ie or through any conference member.
The Give a Gift campaign is up and running, with a number of locations available where people can leave donated toys.
They include Kidzone in Wicklow town, the Bridgewater in Arklow, the sports centre in Rathdrum, the swimming pool in Greystones, Dunnes Stores in Newtown, Byrne's Londis in Avoca and Dunnes Stores in Blessington.
Meanwhile the St. Patrick's conference will be carrying out bucket collections in Hopkins, Earls, Supervalu and Tesco in Wicklow town and Centra in Rathnew.