THOUSANDS of people queued in the cold and rain to receive free food parcels just in time for Christmas.
The Capuchin Day Centre in Dublin city centre handed out more than 2,500 food parcels yesterday to single people and families living in poverty this holiday season.
The parcels contained a large chicken and side of ham, as well as food staples such as tea, sugar, milk, jam, pasta, soup, tinned vegetables, beans and sweets.
"The parcel contains everything that is needed for the Christmas table," said Brother Kevin Crowley, who runs the centre.
"We don't ask questions, it is for everyone who comes. There is nobody refused."
The centre is open daily and, as well as getting food and being able to shower there, those in need have access to a doctor, a chiropodist and dental services.
Each day, the centre feeds around 250 people breakfast and serves 450 to 500 dinner.
The queues are getting longer every year, said Brother Kevin. "We are seeing more and more of what we call the 'new poor', those people who have lost their jobs and are on the verge of losing their homes."
A man who didn't want to be named said the Christmas parcels were a lifeline to those struggling at Christmas time.
"I've never seen a kinder man than Brother Kevin in my life," he said.