The Society of St Vincent de Paul has said it expects 50,000 families to seek its help over the winter months.

It is appealing for donations to help families and individuals in need across the country.

The SVP Annual Appeal message this year is "Christmas is not the same for everyone".

SVP National President Kieran Stafford said despite improvements in sections of the economy, calls for help to the society remain very high.

He said it expects to receive an estimated 125,000 calls again this year. 

Mr Stafford said a donation to SVP at this time of the year can sometimes be sufficient to ensure that individuals and families do not slip into long-term poverty.

He said while the immediate concern is to help families avoid an empty Christmas, the longer term focus is on helping them to break the cycle of poverty.

"Irish society cannot and must not accept that living in, or on the verge of, poverty is normal," he said.