Friday 16 November 2018

Hundreds queue for Capuchin Christmas parcels

Marian Smyth and Brother Sean Donohoe prepare Christmas packages for the needy at the Capuchin Day Centre in Dublin. Photo: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie
Marian Smyth and Brother Sean Donohoe prepare Christmas packages for the needy at the Capuchin Day Centre in Dublin. Photo: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie
Fiona Dillon

Fiona Dillon

More than 300 people were already in the queue for food parcels when the Capuchin Day Centre opened its doors.

From 6am, they had gathered in Dublin city centre yesterday to collect the food parcels comprising of two bags, one with meat and the other with grocery staples like pasta, tinned goods and milk, to tide them over during Christmas.

Sixty volunteers were at the centre on Thursday night packing some 2,600 parcels, and another 20 volunteers were on duty yesterday, including the former Lord Mayor Christy Burke to distribute them.

It was a very busy day for the centre. By lunchtime alone, around 2,000 people had collected the hampers.

"We have been handing out hampers since the 1970s, but we have never seen figures like this," the centre's manager Alan Bailey told the Irish Independent.

The system ran seamlessly, as people entered through one door, were handed their bags of goods, and then exited through another door, with everyone expressing their gratitude as they left.

Mr Bailey paid tribute to the generosity of donors at this time of year. "There are people walking by, handing in envelopes and ringing up," he said.

Every day, the centre caters for an average of 250 breakfasts, and some 500 lunches.

The economy may have improved for some people - but that hasn't trickled down to a lot of people who use the Capuchin Day Centre, and it is not just the homeless.

"We have a lot of people here who would have apartments, or rented houses, but cannot afford their dinner," Mr Bailey pointed out. The centre will shut for Christmas Day, but many users of the service will attend an annual Christmas meal in the RDS.

Irish Independent

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