The Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation has issued what it called an “SOS appeal for donations” as it faces a gaping €500,000 hole in its finances.
The charity said its current financial outlook is ‘bleak’ as it struggles to provide for the 340 children and families under its care.
‘Very vulnerable’ children from birth to five years of age with highly complex and life-threatening medical conditions are being cared for at home, the foundation said.
The mother of one such child, Leo Johnston, said Jack and Jill has been lifesaving.
Joan Johnston said: “Within two or three days of being referred, our liaison nurse was in our home listening to us and telling us ‘we can help you’.
“They have been the most supportive group of people. They have been lifesavers.”
Jack & Jill’s specialist home nursing and end-of-life care have continued during the Covid-19 crisis, with many families still getting home visits from their regular nurse or carer.
For those self-isolating, the nursing team provides phone and video support to help parent carers keep their sick child safe and well cared for at home.
The charity is urging the public to donate €4 by texting the words ‘We Care’ to 50300 or to give what they can through jackandjill.ie
Every €16 donated provides a family with an hour of home nursing support from the Jack & Jill team.
Founder, Jonathan Irwin, who is cocooning at home, said: “All of a sudden, the rug has been pulled from underneath our fundraising feet, with everything cancelled because of Covid-19.
“One thing we’re not short of at Jack & Jill is resilience, spurred on by the families we support and their surrounding community.
“We need support from the community and we believe we will get it, because people understand the lifeline that is Jack & Jill and our reach across the country.
“I would appeal to everyone who can, to dig deep and help us out at this challenging time. Our service must and will prevail. Thank you.”
The foundation, running for 22 years, must raise €3.8m every year to fund its care and end-of-life support for sick children from birth to five years of age.
The children have highly complex and life-threatening medical conditions, and may not be able to walk or talk, are tube-fed, oxygen-dependent, and require around-the-clock care.