A homeless charity will stage its largest-ever fundraiser next week to help put the country’s first mobile ‘homeless shelter and shower bus’ on the road.
The outreach group, Helping Cork’s Homeless, supports rough sleepers who cannot get a bed in the city’s various at-capacity homeless shelters.
It aims to use the funds raised by a Spring Gala to cover the cost of insurance for the new vehicle.
The charity had hoped the funds from a single released last November would raise enough money to buy a bus.
But, within hours of its first airing on Cork’s RedFM, Kearney’s Coaches stepped in and donated a 95-registered 45-seater Scania bus to the charity.
Linda Kearney said she felt it was important to give back or to do something good, if at all possible.
Builder Chris Harrington, who also volunteers with the homeless charity, is now spending his spare time kitting out the vehicle with special bed pods, a table and showers.
Chritina Chalmers established the charity just over two years ago in response to the escalating homelessness crisis, setting up pop-up soup kitchens in the city centre.
They quickly expanded their range of services and began distributing sleeping bags.
“Our main aim is to provide emotional support and help to those who are most vulnerable in society,” she said.
“Outside of providing necessary items like hot meals, sleeping bags and hygiene products, we also provide a service helping to link the people we help with appropriate agencies, liaising with their families, and offering assistance towards obtaining beds in treatment centres.”
The launch of the homeless shelter and shower bus will take their service delivery to the next level, and will help them reach more people in desperate need, she said. Accounting specialists, Contracting Plus, are now supporting the charity’s Spring Gala which takes place at the Clayton Hotel, Cork City, on May 12.
The firm’s Geraldine O’Flynn and Michael Dineen attended the launch of the gala by Lord Mayor, Cllr Des Cahill, in City Hall.
“We were very glad and really appreciated the fact that the Lord Mayor of Cork afforded us his time and received us at his chambers to facilitate the launch of our event,” Ms Chalmers said.
“We normally run small fundraisers but this is the biggest we’ve ever done.
“And we are so grateful to Geraldine and Michael — without their generous support, we just couldn’t do something this big.”
Tickets for the gala, priced €20, which includes a meal, music and disco, are available by sending a direct message to the charity’s Facebook page, Please Join Me in Helping Cork’s Homeless.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved