Homeless charity 200 years old - A helping hand

The 200th anniversary of one of Ireland’s oldest charities is worthy of both lament and celebration.

Lament, because the Mendicity Institution is still in the business of helping the homeless in the 21st century, something its founders might have considered unthinkable.

Celebration, because Mendicity, which provides 20,000 meals at its headquarters in Dublin each year, is the capital’s oldest working charity with outreach services.

Known locally as “the Mendo”, the origin of the charity’s name was derived from the word “mendicant”, a historic word for begging.

Celebration, also, because the charity does more than simply feed those in need. It provides the homeless not just with food and shelter, but with hope.

When first established, it helped Irish people earn money for passage to America and Australia, during the great waves of emigration in the 1800s.

Today, it helps immigrants arriving here to achieve a better life. We wish it well for the next 200 years.

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