Portlaoise St Vincent De Paul volunteers packing Christmas hampers in previous years.
The Portlaoise conference of the St Vincent De Paul has announced is to replace it Christmas hamper system with food vouchers for the 2018 Christmas Appeal.
With requests for help remaining 'very high', the conference says there are a number of reasons for moving away from hamper distribution.
“The collection, storage, compiling and distribution of the traditional hamper was placing a huge amount of work on our personnel and volunteers. In many instances, it was very difficult to match the recipient with the food available. The recipients prefer to receive a voucher that allows them to pick what suits their family best and there is more dignity in allowing them to do that.
"We know that one of the downsides may be that over the years people have been very generous in giving gifts of various food items. We do hope this will be replaced this year by making a money donation that we can convert into food vouchers," said a statement.
The conference says the vouchers will be redeemable at local grocery shops by families who need help.
Each year the conference makes 750 visits to families and people in need and hopes local people support the Church gate collection and Christmas Appeal.
"Unfortunately, there is still a huge need for families and individuals in our community to receive support.
"Even in an improving economy, the number of people in Portlaoise requiring our support is remaining very high. The type of support we provide is wide-ranging, but most often we help families with basics such as food, heating and education costs.
The St Vincent De Paul Portlaoise Christmas Appeal Church Gate Collection takes place on November 17-18 & 24-25.