00:00 Saturday 27 February 2010  Written by Frank O Donovan

SVP charity shop opens in Clon

THE St Vincent de Paul Society has opened a new shop, called Second Thoughts, at Connolly Street in Clonakilty to complement two other shops, in North Cork, that it has opened recently.

The two other shops were opened in Kanturk and Fermoy and the Society has also selected a number of other venues so it expects to open shops in a number of other areas before the end of the year, according to Liam Roche, president of St. Brigid's Conference of the St Vincent de Paul Society.

Conscious of the scale of need within the community, the Cork Regional Board of the Society launched a plan in the early months of 2009 to extend its clothes collections and its shops network throughout County Cork.

These shops, in addition to generating revenue for the Society, also offer excellent quality clothing, shoes and other useful items at minimal prices.

"I have recently experienced a gentleman being dressed from head to toe (suit, shirt, tie and shoes) for a family wedding for just €20," Liam told The Southern Star this week.

Within the Society, the shops are a very practical way of helping needy people, particularly those whose pride and dignity will not allow them come directly to the Society for help.

"'Thirty five thousand houses facing repossession', ' A Debtor a day going to jail'; these headings from one of our national newspapers caught my eye a few months ago. Can you imagine the pain, suffering and anxiety of young parents facing either of these prospects?" said Liam.

In addition to helping the victims of the pre-Christmas flooding and the Haiti earthquake disaster, the Society is regularly meeting young people who have taken out mortgages of €200,000 and upwards over the past six to eight years and are now facing financial ruin.

changed

These commitments were entered into when one, or possibly both, of the parties involved had good incomes, particularly those working in the construction business.

"Unfortunately, the scene has now changed and for many of these well-intentioned and hard working people the dole queue or Job Seekers Allowance has become a reality.

"We in the St. Vincent De Paul Society cannot solve problems of this magnitude, but we can lessen the burden. We can offer our support by preventing the electricity supply being disconnected, by helping to keep food on the table or indeed educational expenses."

The help of the public through clothing donations are invaluable to the Society in implementing its plan. In the absence of an adequate supply of good quality material the plan simply cannot function. Clothing donations can be made through receptacles in your area or directly into the shop in Clonakilty or other shops as they come on stream in the near future.

"When donating to the St. Vincent de Paul Society, you have the assurance that every cent generated from your donations is used to help needy people.

The Society provides a reputable, honest and trustworthy outlet for used clothing and shoes at a time when people are confused by the number of appeals they receive, together with negative media reports."

Liam and his colleagues offered their thanks for the continued help and support of the public, not just now but over the past 150 years of the Society's existence.

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