Coffee lovers indulge for good cause

DRINKING large amounts of stimulants may seem an unusual method of fundraising, but coffee lovers turned out in every county in Ireland yesterday to indulge themselves in aid of the Irish Hospice Foundation.

An estimated 500,000 cups of coffee were drank as hundreds of coffee mornings were held in garda stations, cafes, homes, workplaces and airports, where people gathered to donate €2 for each cup of coffee they drank.

A staggering five tonnes of freshly ground Bewleys coffee was consumed in just one morning, with organisers hoping to break the €2 million barrier this year.

Now in its 11th year, all monies raised are kept locally to provide new and improved respite services, such as palliative day care and home nurses.

Eugene Murray, chief executive of the Irish Hospice Foundation, said the hope this year was to raise €500,000 more than in 2003. “The hospice movement believes that no one should have to face death without appropriate care and support, including support for the family and extending into bereavement,” he said.

In many areas there are still unmet needs and the Irish Hospice Foundation intends to extend services, including nursing homecare services and respite services.

Since the coffee mornings began in 1993, €9m has been raised for the hospice services, with Bewleys continuing to provide the coffee each year for free.

The estimated half-a-million cups of coffee consumed during yesterday’s coffee morning made it the biggest yet.

“Hosts who open their homes and offices to friends and colleagues do so in the knowledge that this gesture will make a major difference to the quality of someone’s life,” said Patrick Bewley, chairman of Bewleys Ltd.

In Co Kerry, the local hospice hopes to raise enough money to begin work on a new palliative day care centre in Tralee.

“We have to raise €1.75m to do it,” Ted Moynihan of the Kerry Hospice Foundation said.

“We’re very happy with the turnout this morning, we had 75 coffee mornings in Tralee alone..”

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