September 14, 2022

Community Corner: Saint Vincent de Paul Enniscorthy

St Mary’s Vincent De Paul in Enniscorthy is a part of SVP - the largest charitable organisation in Ireland. We’re supported by wonderful volunteers, and we have weekly meetings every Tuesday evening to discuss clients' requests for food and fuel vouchers. We help with the cost if people need help to take a relative to hospital appointments in Dublin or other hospitals. We also provide information when we visit clients on how to access education grants for students. We operate a helpline where clients can ring and chat with our volunteers about their concerns around food or other financial issues. We also provide some clothes for young mothers with new babies or people who generally need clothes. We also have our clothes shop run by our lovely store manager - Orla Harrington, who helps us support families in our area. 

I have been a member for the past seven years, and I have gotten great support from our president Dessie Sheehan and from all our volunteers who have worked together as a strong team during this different and difficult time - first, the crisis of the pandemic and now spiralling food and energy cost increases. During the Covid pandemic, we provided food vouchers to families by posting them to each family. We assisted lots of people during the pandemic. 

In SVP Enniscorthy, we also do what we can to help prevent food waste and have partnered with FoodCloud and our local Lidl for years. 

In 2021 we helped to rescue half a tonne of surplus food that would otherwise have gone to waste. This was the equivalent of 1183 meals and saved 1.59 tonnes of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere. 

To give you just one idea of how we use the food. Last Tuesday, I was able to redistribute the 40 tins of ready-to-eat plums that I collected from Lidl through FoodCloud. I asked my colleague in a family resource centre If she would like the plums for cooking or perhaps making apple and spiced plum Jam and some tarts or crumble for the families who would enjoy the homemade products. I felt this was the best use for that amount of plums to prevent waste. I’m including a recipe here for spiced apple and plum jam. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 kg of plums  
  • 1kg of Bramley cooking apples 
  • 450g of golden caster sugar  
  • 3 pieces of star anise  
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Method:

  1. Peel core and chop apples
  2. Cover and cook gently for 30 minutes, then add the plums, golden caster sugar, and spices
  3. Cook for a further 10 minutes. This will then be ready to pour into sterilised jars
  4. Put wax covers on the jars and screw the lids on tight. The jam will keep for approximately one year

Working as a volunteer with Saint Vincent De Paul, I always think of new ideas to help with food waste in our local community. 

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