Friday 23 March 2018

Video: Film-maker reveals Ireland’s new poor relying on soup kitchens

Garreth Murphy

Garreth Murphy

"IF you’re sick you go to the doctor, if you’re hungry you go to Twist," says Oliver Williams, the founder of Twist soup kitchen in Galway City. His charity kitchen and its regulars is the subject of Róisín O’Hara’s arresting short film, Feeding the Hungry.

Armed with only her camera, O’Hara, a former RTE video journalist, interviewed some of the kitchen’s regulars. Their stories were all depressingly familiar – people who lost their jobs and homes when the Celtic Tiger went belly up and people who were on the margins of society.

“I wanted to do an intimate journal of stories of people who found themselves by the wayside – for whatever reason,” says O’Hara. “In my experience, people want to tell their stories but a lot of the time they think that nobody wants to listen. I found that because it was just me on with my camera, they were more inclined to do that.”

The interviews make for stark viewing. With Twist catering for up to 100 people a day, O’Hara was surprised at the cross section of people availing of its resources.

“There was any number of people there – everyone from women with young kids to men who were in their 30s and 40s. They were the sort of people who you’d never expect to see at a facility like this. They’re the new poor – the people who just can’t afford to eat.”

The reaction to the video has been positive so far.

“I’ve only had it up a few days but there’s been a lot of interest in it. Friends have told me that they’ll get their kids to watch it. Oliver Williams doesn’t get any state funding for Twist so if it brings some awareness to his work, that’d be great. It’s shocking that he thinks every city in Ireland will need one of these kitchens.”

O’Hara plans to continue working on intimate video pieces for her website

“I feel there is an appetite for these types of stories, which tell the stories ‘behind the news’ and put faces to the statistics.”

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