Around 3,000 people braved the cold of Dublin’s north inner city to receive food parcels to help get them through the Christmas period.
The parcels were handed out by the Capuchin Day Centre on Bow St, where a lengthy queue had formed early yesterday morning.
The parcels contained items such as teabags, sugar, milk, bread, and cereals, as well as portions of chicken, bacon, and sausages.
The crowd, which swelled as the day wore on, was made up of men and women of all ages, as well as struggling families with small children.
Brother Kevin Crowley of the Capuchin Day Centre said the crowd was what he expected to see and that the recession was alive and well for many families in Dublin.
“It’s really just par for the course for what we expect to see now,” he said. “By the end of the day, we expect to have given out around 3,000 food parcels. It’s shocking that this is what we see in 2016 at a time when we are being told that the recession is over. If it is, we are not seeing it.”
Br Crowley said the centre had no problem dealing with such large numbers, and said this was due to the generosity of the public.
Queue for Christmas food parcels at Capuchin Centre..Happy Christmas Dublin 2016 pic.twitter.com/POBzlyv5E6— Kitty Holland (@KittyHollandIT) December 22, 2016
“Our running costs come to around €3.3m and just €450,000 of that is from Government funding,” he said. “The rest comes from the public and we are extremely grateful for that.
“Thankfully, we have never gone short. I don’t believe in organised fundraising as I think all donations and every penny we get should go directly to the people in need.”
Br Crowley, who has run the centre since 1974, said it was “appalling” that, in 2016, children were being forced to live in hotel rooms without any facilities.
He said 50 to 60 families visit the centre every week to get baby food and nappies.
“No child should be living in those circumstances,” he said. “A child came up to me recently and said: ‘Brother Kevin, how will Santa know where I am if I am living in a hotel?’
“The Government needs to wake up to this and stop talking about things coming on stream in a few years. Where are people going to live now? The protection of children is paramount to us. No child should be going hungry. It’s appalling what’s going on.”
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