Helping Cork’s Homeless last night launched ‘Lay Your Head Down’ a charity single available on iTunes, and the charity hopes to raise €70,000 towards the special vehicle, which will be deployed to assist homeless people when Cork’s emergency shelters are full to capacity.
This Christmas marks the second anniversary of the establishment of the charity, founded by Christina Chalmers.
Ms Chalmers and her team of volunteers set up a homeless distribution street service every second Friday night outside Brown Thomas on Patrick Street.
The team offers a street kitchen cafe with catering equipment in a marquee that supplies hot meals, hot soup, hot drinks, and sandwiches to the homeless of Cork, who are invited to sit and chat at tables and chairs at the marquee.
“This is very important to them as they usually spend their day on their feet being moved on by society in general, whereas we welcome them and most importantly treat them with dignity and respect, something society generally does not afford them,” Ms Chalmers said.
The effort is driven by social media, and calls for assistance through the “Please Join me in Helping Cork’s Homeless” Facebook page usually sees some 40 to 60 volunteers show up.
“Throughout the night, teams of volunteers accompanied by my experienced team of co-ordinators are dispatched to all quarters of the city in search of homeless persons with a view to encouraging them to avail of the street kitchen where they will be met by a friendly ear,” Ms Chalmers said.
“The volunteers also make note of a homeless person’s location should they require bedding down later in the night. I equip the teams with care packs consisting of bottled water, sandwiches, hats, scarves and gloves and hygiene bags to distribute to the homeless,” she said.
“When the street kitchen closes at approximately one or two a.m. and the equipment is safely stored away in the groups’ unit, the operation of bedding down begins.
“The bedding down team arrive at the known locations where homeless people are known to sleep rough and we also use the information that has been gathered by the volunteers to identify possible new locations where persons may be bedding down,” she said.
‘Lay Your Head Down’ is available now on iTunes, with proceeds going towards funding the Helping Cork’s Homeless bus.