Longford has one of the highest levels of food poverty in the country according to a new report issued by Mandate and Unite.
The county by county report which was published earlier this week indicates that 4,000 people are going hungry in Longford .
Last month, the Longford Leader reported that food poverty has become a pressing issue in Longford.
Such is the extent of the problem, members of St Melâ€™s Conference St Vincent de Paul (SVP) are asking for food donations in the annual SVP Christmas appeal .
â€œThe demand for food is exceeding all expectation this year,â€ underlined SVPâ€™s Kathleen Mimnagh.
â€œThere is a huge need for food, particularly in homes where there are children and older people. This year we need more of the basics - forget about luxurious items, we need perishable goods and food products; food is what people need this year.â€
Newly established SVP in Granard is close to its 1st anniversary and has seen a surge in food and fuel poverty in that time. Now the organisation fears that there are some people out there who find it difficult to seek their help.
â€œThere are the usual requests for help which increases somewhat around Christmas time,â€ said chairperson Marett Smith.
â€œOne concern is that we may not be reaching some people in need, who for one reason or another do not find it easy to contact St Vincent de Paul. They might never have been in receipt of help before and find it difficult to ask for help. We would like to encourage these people to contact us and assure them of the utmost confidentiality. We will have a church gate collection on this weekend Sat and Sunday 21 and 22 in St Maryâ€™s Church, Granard at all masses. As this is our only public collection in the year we hope that people will contribute what they can afford.â€
Contact Granard SVP on (085) 1503985 or Longford SVP on (043) 3342084 for assistance.
Altogether, 14,600 people have been classed as suffering from food poverty - which means they have missed a meal due to financial problems - in this region.
Meanwhile, Unite Regional Secretary Jimmy Kelly said, â€œFood poverty in Ireland today is part of a policy-made disaster - austerity, and the collapse in incomes it has brought in its wake and organisations providing food assistance are stretched to their limitsâ€.