A homeless volunteer group in Dublin is pleading for donations for a van to transport supplies.
Grafton Street Kitchen is hoping to raise €7,000 to help their friends in need and supply them with food, drinks, clothes, and tents.
Mary Clarke, who set up the fundraiser, described the homelessness situation as “heartbreaking”, and said the van would make a big difference to them.
“We all feel for the homeless people, it’s a terrible situation,” she said. “It’s heartbreaking to see the kids. I come home and cry, but at least I’ve the opportunity to come home to a warm place.
“I think people have a misconception about homeless people. I haven’t seen a lot of substance abusers coming to the tables.
“When you stand at the table, I wish some of our politicians could do it. You see the heartbreak in front of you. This country would break your spirit.”
Mary explained that a lot of people who avail of the service love the social aspect of it, especially if they haven’t talked to anyone that day.
“The food and clothes are almost a secondary thing. When they come up for the chats, we show them respect and human decency,” she said.
“It’s so social. They’re so interesting to talk to. A lot of them would read the same books I would, and others have an interest in photography like me.
“We’ve so much common ground and you look forward to seeing them. The volunteers who do this every day are unbelievable too. They have jobs and families, but they never miss a day.”
The non-funded group are relying on generous donations, especially in the lead up to Christmas, to help give those less fortunate the bare necessities.
“We set up a table every week on Grafton Street with hot food, sandwiches, fruit, and clothes. We’re totally non-funded, we fund ourselves and we get donations. It’s really hard,” Mary said.
“We’re all using our own cars, ramming them to the roof with stuff, and trying to store stuff. We’re hoping to get one big van.
“The money would make a huge difference. We still have to use cars to get in, but if we’d a big van we could put all the necessary stuff in it for storage and transport.
“Sometimes it all doesn’t fit into the cars. Parking is hard to get too, it’s hard to cart everything in dribs and drabs from your car,” she added.
You can donate to their fundraiser here.
If so you can get in touch here