By: Anita Boniface
The St Vincent de Paul Society (SVP) is offering an answer to the hard hitting question 'Who Cares?' in their annual Awareness month campaign running throughout the month of September. Questioning 'Who Cares?' about loneliness, hunger, poverty and sickness, the answer is clear. The SVP does.
Week three of the campaign focuses on the question of poverty with millions of families in England and Wales suffering the dire consequences of job losses, benefit sanctions, homelessness and welfare cut backs.
Because the SVP cares about people suffering material poverty, its 8,000 active members help people in need with furniture, clothing and food and toys for their children, helping them back on their feet so they can overcome devastating worry, isolation and the despair it causes.
Kirsty is a young woman who was in dreadful need of help after sleeping rough for several years. When homeless people like Kirsty eventually find accommodation, it is usually unfurnished and often lacks a fridge or a cooker. The grants that used to assist people in making a new flat operational are no longer available in the vast majority of cases. Many people find that they simply do not have the means or support to make independent living viable, and as a result sometimes end up back on the street. When Kristy was finally given her own small flat after months spent in a hostel or sleeping rough, the only thing in it was a new gas cooker that was not connected to the gas supply. After a lifetime in care, she desperately needed help.
Kirsty's social worker wrote to the SVP and members quickly found someone to fit the cooker and also provided her with a fridge as well as a bed and bedding. Kristy has now managed to go back to college and to get a part-time job. She has also become a dab hand with a paintbrush and her flat, which she has decorated herself, is immaculate.
If you would like to support the SVP in its work helping people living in poverty, telephone 0207 703 3030, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.svp.org.uk to find out about volunteering or donating.