Making plans for the Lions Club hamper and voucher collection on Thursday, Friday and Saturday December 8, 9 and 10 were (from left) David Coghlan, Hugh Woodhouse, Frank Dillon and Anne Buckley.

Mullingar Lions Club launch Christmas Programme

As Mullingar Lions Club begin their annual food and voucher appeal today, Thursday December 8, they are conscious of a major increase in requests in all areas of household and domestic situations, similar to the case with St Vincent de Paul, with whom they work closely at this time of year.

As is their ethos ‘to serve the community’, the Lions Club respond in many different ways depending on the needs that arise – for example, the Family Support Project was set up in 2011 in response to the difficulties and hardships that so many people were experiencing after the recession of that time.

Frank Dillon, chairperson of the project, said that things are even more serious now, due to the cost of living crisis and a big difficulty is for people aiming to break out of the poverty cycle.

Frank said that in the last year a greater number of people are living in poor conditions “so an important part of our work in the Lions Club is where we reach out to all age groups and families in response to household repair and maintenance, fuel and food vouchers in an effort to make their lives more stress free”.

The project is structured in such a way that all requests come through the relevant frontline services, to ensure that the most deserving and needy get support.

Therefore the annual Christmas Food and Voucher Appeal and Christmas Dinner Projects are in full preparation for Thursday December 8 and Friday December 9.

“Our collections take place in Buckley’s SuperValu and in Hughes Eurospar on Friday December 9 and Saturday December 10.

“The generosity and goodwill of all people in the greater Mullingar community have been exceptional and we are so grateful for that.”

Preparation for Christmas dinners with David Smyth Catering (from left) Frank Dillon, David Smyth, Shay Murtagh and Rose Corcoran.

On average each year the local Lions Club deliver approximately 400 vouchers or hampers at Christmas time. On Christmas Day, they deliver between 200 and 250 dinners, and a similar number again for St Stephen’s Day for people who otherwise might not be in a position to have dinner.

“We cover all of Westmeath from Delvin to Athlone, Rathowen to Collinstown. This project began in 2014, the brainchild of David Smith Catering, a person whose generosity knows no bounds and David and his staff have teamed up with Mullingar Lions Club over the last eight years to ensure no one is left out at Christmas time.

“What makes all this possible is the wonderful support and kindness of many individuals, businesses and companies who give so generously. We look forward to having you all on our team again over the next 2 weeks for ‘Christmas 22’ . On behalf of everyone in Mullingar Lions Club I wish to express a very sincere thank you and wish you all the blessings and peace of the festive season.