People of Longford urged to kick-a-habit for 24-hours to support Concern Fast

Alan Walsh

Reporter:

Alan Walsh

Email:

alan.walsh@longfordleader.ie

People of Longford urged to kick-a-habit for 24-hours to support Concern Fast

Joanne Callanan raising funds during the cash appeal for the Concern Fast. Photo by: Kevin Carroll

Concern Worldwide is urging the people of Longford to give up a habit or activity they normally do for 24-hours for the annual Fast campaign to raise vital funds for children dying from hunger.

Social media, television and video games are among the many things that people can forgo for a day as part of what is now one of Ireland’s longest running fundraising campaigns.

Traditionally, Concern Fast focused on giving up food, but it can now include any activity or habit, such as drinking coffee, smoking, driving, using smart phones or vocalised pauses, which are the fillers people use in sentences when they talk, such as “um”, “ah” and “like”.

The 48-year-old campaign, which began the same year the Irish aid agency was founded in 1968, takes place on Thursday, November 24 and the funds raised will help children suffering in countries like Ethiopia, Syria and South Sudan.

Concern Worldwide’s Director of Public Affairs, Richard Dixon, said: “I have seen first-hand the incredible positive impact that our work has had on children and their families and we would not be able to do this without the generous donations received during campaigns like Fast.

“It is unacceptable that about three million children die every year from under nutrition, which is an average of around 8,220 children a day or a child dying every 10.5 seconds.

“The phenomenal support Fast has had over so many years has made a difference and is testament to the commitment Irish people have in raising funds for people suffering from hunger and poverty.

“What am I doing? I’m giving up my iPad for 24 hours. This might sound easy, but if you knew me, you’d know that I’m permanently attached to the device and a day without an iPad will be truly challenging."

Concern’s Community Fundraising Manager, and coordinator of the Fast campaign, Jonathan Power, added: “Concern Fast is a rewarding opportunity to challenge yourself for a very deserving cause.

“We cannot thank the Irish public enough for their support and all of our dedicated volunteers who do street collections and other fundraising activities throughout the year."

Donations from Concern Fast will help provide high-energy therapeutic food for malnourished children and will also give families the long-term support needed to feed their children in years to come.

Concern, which is a member of Charities Institute Ireland, said a donation of €24 will provide enough to feed one child for a month.

The aid agency helped 22.6 million people in 28 countries in 2015 and responded to 42 emergencies thanks to funds received, including donations from Fast.

People can sign up for Concern Fast at www.concern.net/fast or by calling 1850 50 50 55 – and participants can also engage with Concern on Twitter @Concern , Facebook, Snapchat and on Instagram.

TEN Concern Fast ideas for what to give up for 24-hours on November 24

Coffee Blackout – Have a no-coffee day

No-Butts! – Try giving up smoking for a day

Bus It! – Leave the car at home and try get around on public transport

Landline Only – Try going back in time and not using your smart phone

No TV! – A day without watching any television

Face-Off! – No Facebook use for 24 hours

Like, Eh! – Give up vocalised pauses, which are the fillers used in sentences, such as “um”, “ah” and “like”

Sweet-Free Day – Give up chocolate and other sweet treats for the day

Game Over! – If you are a “gamer”, try not playing any video games anywhere for 24-hours

Silence Please! – Try one day without talking