Cork's Penny Dinners receives gift of a deep-clean to help keep food aid going

Cork's Penny Dinners receives gift of a deep-clean to help keep food aid going
James Murphy-Stout with volunteers Kyle Hosford, Irish Men’s senior basketball captain, and Blake Murphy, Cork U20 football captain working with Sanitise Ireland and giving a deep clean to Cork Penny Dinners. Picture: Dan Linehan

One of the country's oldest charities has moved to reassure people that of all the worries they face now, food should not be one of them.

The team behind Cork's Penny Dinners were speaking after their soup-kitchen premises underwent a specialist deep-clean to ensure their volunteers can continue to supply food to those in need across the city through the Covid-19 crisis.

While the charity's dining area is closed, the kitchens remain open to facilitate door-to-door food deliveries to hundreds of people, and their nightly food-runs targeting the homeless.

Specialist contractors, Sanitise Ireland, donated their time to do the deep-clean for free, using a process that company spokesman Lloyd Creagh said has been clinically proven to kill the coronavirus.

It's an expensive treatment - around €800 for five-litres - but Mr Creagh said they are happy to do it free of charge for the charity.

"I am a volunteer with Mallow Search and Rescue, and I've done well in life and it's time now for us to start giving back. This is our way of giving back to the people of Cork," he said.

He and his team deployed their thermal-fogging kit inside the charity's soup-kitchen and used a large kettle-like device to project vapour into the air.

The vapour, which contains a chemical that also kills the super-bug MRSA, disperses into the air and cleans a space floor-to-ceiling, providing protection for up to 72-hours.

Mr Creagh said he and his team will continue to provide their service to Cork Penny Dinners for the duration of the crisis, to ensure volunteers are kept safe to continue to feed those in need.

Charity spokesperson, Catriona Twomey, said it's going to be a long haul.

James Murphy-Stout, Kyle Hosford and Blake Murphy working with Sanitise Ireland and giving a deep clean to Cork Penny Dinners.   Picture: Dan Linehan
James Murphy-Stout, Kyle Hosford and Blake Murphy working with Sanitise Ireland and giving a deep clean to Cork Penny Dinners. Picture: Dan Linehan

"Our place is spotless anyway but this gift of a deep-clean gives us an added layer of security and comfort, especially for our volunteers," she said.

"We've been wearing aprons, gloves and masks in the kitchen since the start of this crisis and we've streamlined of team of volunteers to ensure we can adhere to physical distancing.

"We've had great support from bars and restaurants - even yesterday, Apache Pizza gave us hundreds of pizza and chip meals for us to deliver.

If anybody needs us, we are here. People have enough worries at the moment. Food should not be one of those worries.

The team are also mounting nightly food runs to feed rough sleepers.

"We going up every alley, every nook and cranny. We know where they are, and we get to them," she said.

"They are very visible now because there are so few people in town.

"They get a four-course meal at night - soup, dinner, dessert, and biscuits or crisps with milk or water.

"It's better to be sleeping on the streets with a full belly than an empty belly.

"They need to keep their strength up and this situation gets worse.

"They are an isolated group anyway but they are isolated together. They can't self-isolate."

"There is genuine fear amongst them and it's only a matter of time before one of them gets this."

She said discussions are underway to set up food hubs in suburbs across the city where food hampers contained basic staples will be on offer to those who need them.

It is hoped that one of the first hubs will be set up in St Vincent's GAA Club soon.

    Useful information
  • The HSE have developed an information pack on how to protect yourself and others from coronavirus. Read it here
  • Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus who has been in close contact with a confirmed case in the last 14 days should isolate themselves from other people - this means going into a different, well-ventilated room alone, with a phone; phone their GP, or emergency department - if this is not possible, phone 112 or 999 and in a medical emergency (if you have severe symptoms) phone 112 or 999

More on this topic

Tom Allen says his mother has been ‘told off’ by police over lockdown rulesTom Allen says his mother has been ‘told off’ by police over lockdown rules

Recurrence of virus ‘almost inevitable’ until enough people immune, says NI adviserRecurrence of virus ‘almost inevitable’ until enough people immune, says NI adviser

British banks warned it is ‘unacceptable’ to deny funds to firms in Covid-19 crisisBritish banks warned it is ‘unacceptable’ to deny funds to firms in Covid-19 crisis

Official data to reveal big hits to jobs and tax in just the first two weeks of Covid-19 lockdownOfficial data to reveal big hits to jobs and tax in just the first two weeks of Covid-19 lockdown