School and Masses shutdown means Trócaire boxes are missing

Where’s your Trócaire box? Most have gone missing this year, and the charity is appealing to everyone to return theirs as soon as possible – either physically or by making the donation by phone.

Trócaire says its biggest fundraising campaign has been severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, with supporters unable to return their Trócaire boxes due to ongoing restrictions.

“Thousands of boxes are sitting in homes right across Ireland and unless these generous donations are returned, we won’t be able to provide life-saving support to some of the poorest people in the world,” Trócaire CEO Caoimhe de Barra said today, Friday.

As a result it is warning that the 60% decline in donations has put many of its life-saving programmes at risk.

Trócaire’s Lenten Appeal raised €519,077 in Westmeath last year through the Dioceses of Meath and Ardagh & Clonmacnois. Two-thirds of this money comes from Trócaire boxes distributed through parishes and schools. Travel and social restrictions – including the closure of parishes and schools – means most boxes have not been returned this year.

Without the donations from these boxes Trócaire is facing a massive funding crisis that will impact directly on the 3 million people who rely on its work overseas.

Said Caoimhe: “Every year people in Westmeath fill their Trócaire boxes to support the world’s poorest people. But the closure of churches and schools means that support is not getting through this year.

“We are asking our supporters in Westmeath to ‘make your Trócaire box count’. Please count or estimate what is in your box and donate the equivalent amount online, over the phone or via post. Many parishes have their own local arrangements in place for collecting Trócaire boxes, so people can also contact their local parish to see if it is possible to return their box within social distancing guidelines.”

In addition to its vital ongoing programmes, Trócaire is also responding to the Covid-19 crisis. The virus is present in all 20 countries where Trócaire provides support. The charity is responding by providing support in all regions, including 11 countries in Africa where over 100,000 Coronavirus cases have been confirmed.

Trócaire’s response includes providing soap, water and hand-washing stations, supporting quarantine facilities and funding expert medical care.

Caoimhe de Barra said: “The funding crisis comes at a time when we are working to reduce the spread of the Coronavirus in all 20 countries where we work. People in countries like Somalia and South Sudan are incredibly vulnerable to this virus, while lockdowns and travel restrictions have plunged millions more into extreme poverty.

“The contents of each and every Trócaire box, no matter how small, come together to make a significant difference to the lives of the people we help. We have done – and continue to do – so much to protect each other. Now it is time to protect the world’s most vulnerable.”

How to return your Trócaire box donation

Simply count or estimate what is in your box and donate now in one of these four easy ways:

1. Online at trocaire.org

2. Over the phone at 1850 408 408 (ROI) or 0800 912 1200 (NI)

3. By post to Trócaire, Freepost, Maynooth, Co. Kildare (ROI) or Trócaire, 50 King Street, Belfast, BT1 6AD (NI)

4. Check with your local parish if it is possible to arrange a safe drop-off.

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