THE founders and volunteers who run the Tralee Soup Kitchen have thanked the public and local businesses for their help over the Christmas Holidays.
Set up in October late 2012 the soup kitchen, which is located at St John's Parish Centre on Ashe Street, initially served only a handful of people but now more than 60 people a week are using the service.
The soup kitchen's patrons, all of whom are struggling to feed both themselves and their families, are not confined to the homeless and represent a complete cross section of the community with people of all ages and classes and from all over town availing of the service.
After the soup kitchen was featured in The Kerryman in the run up to Christmas, co-founder Collette Price said the voluntary service was inundated with offers of support from local business owners and members of the public who wanted to help out.
"Several businesses including Parkers Pub, Herberts Bar and Prims Restaurant in Kilflynn, along with Tim O'Halloran Butcher, Lerrig , Leah's Gourmet Foods, Ballybunion and Terry's Butchers very generously donated cooked and ready to go food to the Soup Kitchen," said Collette.
"Such was the will to support the Soup Kitchen that Karen from Prims Restaurant has very generously agreed to help out on an ongoing basis," she said.
The service's volunteer team also expressed their thanks to Portman Travel, Bank of Ireland's Tralee Branch, Mercy Mounthawk Secondary School and 7th Kerry Cub Scouts, Dingle, who all held food collections to help the centre.
"We are constantly amazed at this kind of generosity and would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who contributes to keeping the kitchen going," said Collette.
"We'd also like to thank The Catering Dept in IT Tralee, Horans Fruit and Veg, Barrys Bakery, Spar Oakpark, Seamus O'Sullivan and the committee of Teach an tSolais for providing the great facilities needed to maintain this much needed service. Thank you all," Collette added.
The Soup Kitchen is located at Teach an tSolais on Ashe St and opens its doors every Saturday from 12 to 2pm.