St Vincent de Paul in Donegal braced for second wave of lockdown demands

Shops closed, no church collections make funds hard to come by

St Vincent de Paul in Donegal braced for second wave of lockdown demands

Rosa Glackin

St Vincent de Paul conferences all over Donegal are bracing themselves for a second wave of demand on their services as Level 5 lockdown kicks in.

North-west regional president, Rosa Glackin has revealed their organisation is also facing challenges with no church collections to provide them with an income and their charity shops forced to close due to restrictions.

Since the first lockdown in March Donegal's 66 St Vincent de Paul conferences have been working from home and responding to requests for help by phone and  getting assistance out either by post or through the letterbox themselves.

Strangely enough, she says, they weren't as busy as they expected to be and put this down to the fact people were staying at home and maybe saving  money.

"They are continuing to do that because it's challenging when you are not able to meet people. Demand is beginning to rise however and now with the second wave of restrictions coming in businesses could be affected and maybe some people might even lose their jobs. That would concern me a lot," she said.

She said they were very conscious of people who needed to pay mortgages or students who needed help with their education costs.

"We are very concerned for those people. They should come to us because it's better to do this sooner rather than later so that we can help. Most definitely, we are bracing ourselves for a second wave of demand from here on in.

The president revealed St Vincent de Paul itself was also affected in that taking from things like church collections were non-existent as these were closed.

"Another major worry is the closure of our shops When all of our 10 shops around the county reopened after the first lockdown they did quite well but when we moved to Level 4 our shop had to close.

"We moved on to a click and collect system and while it wasn't bringing in the same income, people are buying stuff over the internet. They can make enquiries through our Facebook pages or they can identify what they need by looking at our shop windows.

The main St Vincent de Paul shops around the county can be found in Letterkenny, Castlefin, Buncrana, Donegal town, Bundoran and  Ballyshannon.

Some of their smaller outlets in other locations did not reopen because volunteers were not able to come in.

Ms Glackin revealed the society was about to launch a major initiative in conjunction with the Letterkenny Chamber in the run up to Christmas.

"We will be encouraging people to buy the Shop Lk vouchers which they could then donate to us to pass on to people. It's a great idea and it will also support local businesses."
She added if other chambers wanted to get involved in other towns they should get in touch with their local St Vincent de Paul conference.

"We hope this will also encourage people to support local businesses. We are putting everything in place as best we can to assist anyone in difficulty. It is important they get in touch."
She added November and December are always busy months and now with lockdown this has been extended.

"People have been very generous to date so we're hoping they can keep us in mind with demands set to increase not to mention their usual winter demands ahead. These are challenging times but we will do our best," she said.

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