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Wednesday 21 August 2019

Homeless family pushed their child 10k in a toy buggy as they went to a soup kitchen for food

Cathriona Twomey of the Cork Penny Dinners.
Cathriona Twomey of the Cork Penny Dinners.

Gabija Gataveckaite

A homeless family walked 10km pushing their child in a toy buggy for a meal at a soup kitchen.

Volunteers spotted the family when they arrived at Cork Penny Dinners and noticed that the buggy "wasn’t as it should be".

“They were short for food and came into us. We observed that the buggy wasn’t as it should be,” Caitríona Twomey, who runs the soup kitchen, told Independent.ie.

“Their other buggy broke and they didn’t have the cash to buy another one,” she explained.

“They’re a fabulous couple with lovely kids who are aged eight and under,” she Ms Twomey added.

The family had been made homeless unexpectedly and were staying in a bed and breakfast for several months in Little Island, east Cork.

With the soup kitchen 10km away in the city centre, and being unable to afford travel costs, the family walked.

“They had other appointments in the city and called into us while they were in,” Ms Twomey added.

“It was really painful and hurtful for us to see that- but they didn’t even mention the buggy.”

However, this is not an unusual sight for the charity.

“We see families like that a lot,” she added.

“They were very lucky as they got sorted with accommodation just last week and were in the B&B for a couple of months. We see families that stay there years.”

“It’s very painful for them too and then the parents’ mental health begins to deteriorate.”

Ms Twomey explained how one of their regular customers, a family with several children, gradually lost hope.

“We had a family who were in a BnB for a long time and hope was gradually gone out of their eyes,” she said.

“They didn’t have any cooking facilities and couldn’t be buying takeaways every day.

“They couldn’t manage and the hope is quickly replaced by despair.”

The soup kitchen owner said that there are many reasons for homelessness and that she has seen numbers rise “big time” in the last several years in Cork.

“A lot of people think that they’re homeless because of drink and drugs, but they’re not.

“Landlords demand properties back, marriages break down,” she added.

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