The children's charity, Barnardos, is working hard to ensure it can continue to help vulnerable families over Christmas, however its services are at "breaking point", it has warned.
It has launched its Christmas appeal and is calling for donations from the public to help families nationwide. The charity works with over 17,000 families every year and currently, over 500 families are waiting for help.
"Barnardos is working hard to ensure we can deliver services to those who need them the most, but our services are at breaking point. We have long waiting lists and the gap between the need and the funding provided by the Government continues to widen," commented Barnardos CEO, Suzanne Connolly.
She explained that the charity has to raise €8 million every year to meet this need.
"It is down to the generosity of the Irish public that we fill this gap, however we still can't reach every child that needs us. Donations at Christmas are vital to ensure we can reach more children each year," she noted.
Barnardos has 41 centres around the country that provide a safe space for vulnerable children and families throughout the year. They are affected by a range of problems, including domestic abuse, neglect, parental mental health issues, poverty, alcohol abuse and drug abuse.
While these are year-round problems, there tends to be additional pressure at Christmas time.
"Every year we work with families to help prepare them for Christmas. We provide family support services all year to help with budgeting and routines, and on a more practical level at Christmas, we make sure they have everything they need for their family including pyjamas, bedding, books, food vouchers and hygiene packs," explained the charity's director of fundraising, Mary Gamble.
She said that the charity ensures that every child it works with, and their siblings, receive a visit from Santa and a present.
"Without the help of the public, we couldn't support families we work with, and we know there are at least 500 waiting for our help. To help us be there for every child that needs us this Christmas, I urge you to please donate what you can afford at www.barnardos.ie," Ms Gamble added.
Discussions on this topic are now closed.