Heartfelt Thanks For Another Year

Of Your Kind Support

The people who attend the Centre - Every person needs to belong and have a place where they are respected and have their basic needs met in a caring and non-judgemental way.  For most people this is where they call home and in an ideal world, families can share the normal ups and downs of life in privacy behind their own hall door.  Sadly some people must spend their days trying to find shelter from the weather, a place to rest and prepare before going out to face the day. Their most basic needs are access to toilet facilities, somewhere to wash and change their clothes, decent hot meals, someone to interact with.  Many people lack what most of us take for granted and have no security as to where they will lay their heads that night.  While this is tragic for adults, it is heart breaking for families with children who are forced to move from place to place with no stability as to their living conditions.

Food Service - Our day starts early in Bow Street and when the staff on the early shift arrive, the queue is already forming.  People are often in a distressed state and we respond as best we can to each individual with respect and kindness. Breakfast is served between 7am and 11.30am and we normally have between 250/300 people.  It is easy to spot the “rough sleepers” those who have spent the night on the streets or slept in cardboard boxes. In an effort to regain their dignity they are usually the first to put their names down for the showers/fresh clothing while others are so dispirited and exhausted they just need a safe place to get in out of the weather and rest before they face another day. Our busiest morning is Wednesday and the staff/volunteers arrive at around 6 am to make up food parcels for about 1,400 people who need help with their grocery supplies.  (We also provide 350 parcels each week from the friary in Kilkenny).   At about 11.30 we close for a short time to prepare for the busiest part of our day and get ready to provide a full dinner for 5/600 people. 

Additional Services - While the main purpose of the Centre is food maintenance, we have constantly endeavoured to improve our response and help people who have difficulty in accessing mainstream services.  We have a fulltime nursing staff, a dedicated family social worker (TUSLA) and in conjunction with the Safetynet Primary Medical Care Service who provide 4 GP Medical Clinics each week, we have other Professionals who offer their services on a “Pro Bono” basis.  These include two Dental and two Chiropody clinics each week, an Optical Screening Clinic and Haircuts (Haircuts 4 the Homeless). Our latest additions include a Cervical Smear Screening service and a COPD and Diabetic Clinic (Mater Hospital). Thanks to your goodness, a sizable portion of our expenditure is on footwear, socks, underwear, t-shirts, emergency rainwear, tents and sleeping bags, personal hygiene products, hospital packs, hats, scarves, emergency transport costs, assistance for bereaved families etc. baby supplies and children’s essentials.

Child Poverty – For Capuchins the welfare of families is a priority and in our Centre we have a designated “Family Area” where families can enjoy a nutritious meal in safety.  Since the housing crisis of 2013, we had to upgrade the service by providing day to day essentials for children and babies.  Housing scarcity and high rents means that people are living in hotels and B & B’s totally unsuited to family needs. The increase in child poverty is very evident here in the Centre.  Our figures rose from 4,389 in 2011 to 11,300 in 2018.  A staggering increase of 6,911 or 157.5%.  Each day we meet the tragic human casualties of failed government policies and Action Plans charged with ‘cherishing all the children of the state equally’.

Guiding Principles - While our main concern is that no one should go hungry our overarching principle is that each person who comes to our door is treated with the utmost respect and dignity.  We operate an “open door” policy and with the exception of child protection issues, do not ask questions as we feel it is difficult enough for people to come and bring their children to be fed and nourished.  In keeping with the guidelines of St. Francis of Assisi, there is no charge for any of our services.

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