Michelin star chef answers charity's call after 'explosion in the amount of homeless in Cork'

Michelin star chef answers charity's call after 'explosion in the amount of homeless in Cork'

Michelin star chef, Takashi Miyazaki, is one of many people who responded to a special appeal made by a charity to ensure nobody homeless on the streets of Cork went hungry.

Volunteers with Homeless Help and Support Cork found they had no longer had enough cooks to meet the growing demand of the on-street runs.

Margaret Smith, who has been cooking food for the charity for the past six months, said the demand for food has tripled in the past two weeks.

She also noticed that more homeless young people than ever are queuing up for food and there was a concern there was not enough to go round. She said there has been an "explosion in the amount of homeless in Cork".

Margaret, who prepares meals for the charity in her home in Ballincollig, Co Cork, decided to see if the "good people" on social media would help.

“We need volunteers to cook food for our Tuesday or Friday night food run. Can you help," she asked in a tweet at the weekend.

Chef and proprietor of Ichigo Ichie on Fenn's Quay in Cork, Takashi Miyazaki quickly responded: “Team Ichigo Ichie can do Japanese curry on Tuesday,” he wrote.

Takashi, who has earned his sterling reputation for producing Japanese cuisine using Irish ingredients, is among many people who responded to Margaret's appeal over social media.

He hopes to get his team together next month to cook food for the charity as have many local businesses who have also rallied to the call.

Margaret, who had a cooking business, said she is one of several volunteers who provide food runs every Tuesday and second Friday night on St Patrick's Street: “We usually keep an eye on each other and who's doing what using Facebook so there will be enough food every night.

"In the last week or so volunteers have been upping the amount of food they have been bringing in. But they have been running out after about an hour.”

Margaret said it eventually got a bit much for everyone involved so she decided to appeal to her 5,500 Twitter followers to give a hand: “The response has been just overwhelming but it is sad as well. We need the help because there has been an explosion in the amount of homeless in Cork.”

Homeless Help and Support Cork have volunteers outside the Ulster Bank in the city centre every Tuesday and every second Friday at 9pm.

“What I do is cook a 30-portion meal like stew or pasta or curry and drop it into the food run on Patrick's Street once or twice a month,” said Margaret.

People are also encouraged to drop off sandwiches, treats and water.

Margaret said that such was the response to her weekend tweet that they had filled all their rota slots and urged people to get in touch with other homeless groups if they still wanted to help.

Homeless Help and Support Cork are one of several operating streets runs to ensure food is available to those who need it. “They are all like us – struggling to cope with the demand," she said.

As well as distributing food volunteers from Homeless Help and Support Cork provide hygiene care packs, new underwear and socks

During colder weather, and when stocks permit, they provide hats, gloves, scarves hand warmers, foil blankets and sleeping bags.

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