“Blessings on this premises and thanksgivings for this shop,” said Fr Simon Cadam, as he blessed the new St Vincent de Paul (SVP) shop - New 2 U - in the glorious sunshine along Granard’s Market Street last Saturday morning. “Bless all the people who enter it and may we be thankful for St Vincent de Paul’s presence in our town.”
It was history in the making throughout the weekend in the picturesque north Longford town, but the recent establishment of an SVP committee and subsequent opening of the store, is a move that many people who find themselves struggling in the current economic climate, will no doubt, deeply appreciate.
The generosity of the public was also evident, with the shop stocked to full capacity with clothes, blankets and Bric-a-Brac.
“This is a follow up to the creation of an SVP branch in Granard shortly before Christmas,” said SVP committee chairperson, Marett Smith.
“The committee were very happy with the great response from the local community and we are very fortunate to have so many men and women from the Abbeylara/Granard/Mullinalaghta areas who are willing to give their time and energy to this worthy organisation.” The Granard branch meets on Tuesday nights and endeavours to meet the needs of all those who access the service. “Confidentiality is paramount, and people in need who call the helpline can be assured of this,” Ms Smith continued.
“As the recession continues, we are finding that families and individuals, who heretofore, would never have had to seek help, are now coming to us for assistance and that includes third level students who are not in receipts of grants and whose parents are already stretched to the limit.”
The local SVP chairperson went on to point out that there was no shame in asking for help that pr-conceived notions about support agencies were “unhelpful”.
“Some people have the false notion that it is families on social welfare who are the main recipients of aid from SVP and this is not the case,” she added. “The reality is that these families, by and large, have not seen their incomes fall as drastically as other sections of the community. We look at each case on an individual basis and we ensure that any financial aid is distributed to those who are really in need.
Apart from this we may advise people to contact MABS in Longford which will assist them in getting their weekly budget in order. It needs to be stressed that we thoroughly investigate the financial circumstances of anybody who seeks assistance before help is proffered, as we are very much aware that the people who are kind enough to offer donations would like to be assured that their donations are going to the most deserving causes.”
‘New 2 U’ will initially open each Friday and Saturday and on the first Tuesday of every month from 10-6pm. All donations would be much appreciated and the organisation also has an account at Bank of Ireland, Main Street, Granard. “I would like to take the opportunity to thank most sincerely all our volunteers and committee members for their assistance and dedication to this worthy cause,” Ms Smith concluded. To access SVP Granard’s Helpline, call (085) 1503985.