(more than just words!)
The definition of ‘poverty’ often varies but according to the National Anti-Poverty Strategy: “People are living in poverty if their income and resources (material, cultural and social) are so inadequate as to preclude them from having a standard of living that is regarded as acceptable by Irish society generally.” Most European studies, including those carried out by the CSO, advise that the poverty line is “at 60% of median income, adjusted to take account of family size and composition”.
We know from all available statistical information that the number of people living in hardship in Ireland has increased by more than 100,000 since the onset of the recession – that is over 700,000 people living in need.
Some of the more startling facts are that 18% of adults living in poverty are employed (the working poor) with approximately 11% of children (aged 0-17) living in consistent poverty. This can mean going 24 hours without a substantial meal or being cold because parents are unable to afford to heat the home. It means not having two strong pairs of shoes, or a warm jacket to keep out the cold.
At Protestant Aid we receive applications every day that describe circumstances most people will hopefully never encounter – stories of deprivation, frequently brought about by ill-health, business failure or unemployment, that can often affect families who have been more used to giving than receiving.
Many of the almost 1500 families assisted in the last year express their thanks in short letters and ‘phone calls and the appreciation is heartfelt. “Your help made all the difference” are words we hear and read frequently. Yet, these words do not belong to us – they belong to the many donors who support the work of Protestant Aid, many having done so over a long number of years. It is their generosity that is truly ‘Care & Compassion in Action’ and their help that makes all the difference to those in financial distress.
The work that began in 1836 still continues today with 100% of the help given going directly to those in need. So to all our donors, thank you for choosing us to be a channel of your generosity and for being a vital part of our work in tackling poverty and bringing light where there was darkness. It is you who has made the difference.