Poker players chip in to help city refuge hit the jackpot
A REFUGE which has seen the number of people it feeds each day more than double in a year has appealed to the business world for help.
Franciscan Brother Kevin Crowley, who runs the Capuchin day centre on Dublin's Bow Street, said it would be a "great blessing" if a company with money to spare could sponsor their activities for a year or two.
Since it opened in 1969, the centre has been providing breakfast, lunch and food parcels to those in need. But since the economic downturn, the numbers turning to the centre have more than doubled.
"Instead of things getting better, they're getting worse," Br Crowley said yesterday. "There's a lot of poverty and a lot of people under stress."
The centre is now dishing out more than 200 breakfasts and 450 dinners each day while 1,000 food parcels are handed out every week. Running costs for the year amount to €1.2m with the government contributing €450,000 and the centre depending on public generosity to make up the shortfall.
And welcome financial help came yesterday from an unlikely source -- a poker tournament which is being staged in the capital over the weekend.
More than 300 players are expected to take part in the tournament in The Jackpot club with €20 from each entry going towards the Capuchin centre. The organisers are hoping to raise €20,000 for the cause. Yesterday, snooker ace Ken Doherty and Leinster coach and former rugby international Reggie Corrigan were on hand to launch the tournament.
"I love playing poker and a lot of guys on the snooker tour play it to relax but this is for a great cause," said Doherty.
Despite the fact that he doesn't approve of gambling, Br Crowley said he was delighted that those involved in the poker tournament were helping out.
"We have a certain amount of people coming here who are on the down through gambling, drugs and drink. I don't for a moment condone gambling but this comes from the heart."