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Ennis students take-over at St Vincent de Paul

A CHRISTMAS shopping experience with a difference takes place in Ennis this weekend. A group of local students are coming together to highlight that poverty effects people throughout the country every day of the year by running the St Vincent de Paul’s Ennis charity shop for 24 hours.
The 16 members of the 4GC class at Gaelcholáiste an Chláir will completely manage the Vincent’s shop on Parnell Street from 9am on Friday until 9am the following day with bargains galore promised.
Teacher Martina McNamara tells us that the students are all looking forward to doing their bit to support the work of St Vincent de Paul in Clare, taking on all of the tasks involved in the management of the charity shop.
She explains, “Our Transition Years annually organise a fundraising campaign for local charities. This year the 4GC class at Gaelcholáiste an Chláir will manage and run the local St Vincent de Paul charity shop here in Ennis for 24 hours. As Covid-19 has presented many challenges for charities to raise much needed funds, this novel idea will enable St Vincent de Paul to gather funds for those affected by acute poverty in the local area in a safe and Covid compliant manner. All funds raised will help those in need in County Clare. This support will provide many individuals and families in need with assistance, especially as we approach the Christmas season.”
Student Joy Hallahan says, “I think this is a really great idea because we are trying to emphasise that poverty is 24 – 7. Some people might have the mindset that around Christmas time is when they might be more generous and supporting charities, but poverty is a constant problem and I think that by taking over the shop for 24 hours, that really drives he idea home, and we’re just really looking forward to giving back to the community and hopefully we will raise a lot of money for the St Vincent de Paul as well.”
Abbie  Hoyne explains that the event follows the success of last year’s sleep out by students in aid of St Vincent de Paul and other charities, with Covid-19 meaning they had to think outside the box when it came to ideas for this year’s fundraiser.
In order to ensure social distancing, the students have been divided into small groups who will be working shifts at the shop supported by their teachers, and they will all be wearing masks and adhering to government guidelines.
Fellow student Gearoid Curtin adds that he is looking forward to taking on a new challenge. “I’ve never worked behind a till before so it will be a new experience for me as well as supporting the St Vincent de Paul’s work”.
Ms McNamara also paid tribute to the St Vincent de Paul, with James Dineen working with the school over the years on social awareness projects as well as supporting students with work experience and community involvement.
“It’s fantastic to be able to give back, and we would be cognisant that the St Vincent de Paul work with and support communities and families all over Ennis and the rest of the county.”
The fundraising night will have a particularly festive flair, with music and hot chocolate to help people get into the Christmas spirit while also picking up a few bargains. A fundraising page for donations has been set up at: www.gofundme.com/f/poverty-is-247-let039s-help-st-vincent-de-paul
“Both St Vincent de Paul and us the 4GC Transition Year class at Gaelcholáiste an Chláir would very much appreciate your help and support. Any donation is greatly appreciated. Also, drop into the shop on the night for our 50% off all stock bonanza,” adds Ms McNamara.

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