Over 6,000 hampers are to be distributed to families experiencing food poverty in Limerick city and the wider region this Christmas with support from the Redemptorist Perpetual Help Fund.
The Redemptorists have already ordered more than €200,000 worth of food which is being packed in black bags and will be delivered to the Society of St Vincent De Paul, as well as community and parish groups across Limerick city and in parts of south Clare and Tipperary.
Fr Seamus Enright, who heads up the order in Limerick, said that because of Covid-19, it had to cancel its annual Christmas sleep out which was always an excellent fundraiser for the Christmas food appeal.
"Many families and pensioners suffer from food poverty, especially at Christmas, and we prepare and deliver 6,000 food hampers to help them.
"We've ordered over €200,000 worth of food which must now be paid for, and we are also operating a drop-in centre each day in which people can make donations of food, cash and toys.
"We have a team assembled at the Limerick Enterprise Development Partnership, the LEDP, who are organising the hampers, and we work with 32 voluntary and community groups to get the food delivered to those who need it," Fr Enright said.
"The preparation of over 6,000 hampers is a major challenge. We get assistance from a number of company workers in Limerick who help out as part of their corporate social responsibility.
"Many community and support groups have asked for our help because their own fundraising activities have collapsed because of Covid and we're doing all we can to help them out.
"It's estimated that eight out of every 100 people across the region will suffer some form of food poverty which comes as a result of a number of difficult and complex problems experienced by families, such as unemployment and drug addiction, which have been considerably heightened during the pandemic," Fr Enright added.