THE FOUNDER OF the Twist soup kitchens has opened yet another premises, this time in Sligo.
Oliver Williams told TheJournal.ie that his aim is to go to any place that needs a soup kitchen, and he saw that need in Sligo. This follows on from the Twist soup kitchens in Galway, Athlone and Roscommon – and there are plans to open a Castlebar outlet soon.
“It was a natural progression,” said Athenry native Williams. “It opened yesterday and we got a great reaction from the public and shops alike. There was a nice crowd and a lot of media attention. It’s like a little restaurant.”
He also runs a charity shop in Athlone.
Recently, some of his premises received criticism because of the type of people who were gathering in the local area and being fed by the kitchens. Williams said that the people who criticise “don’t understand” what a soup kitchen does. “The stigma will always be attached to us,” he said. “That is the way things are going to be.”
He is determined not to let any criticism affect him, saying “I have to stay focused to feed people”.
I would ask anyone who wants to criticise soup kitchens to come into one and see what a nice place it is to be in. They have become very much a community-based project. People can drop in, read a book and have something to eat if they want.
When speaking to TheJournal.ie in November, he said that as a teenager in London he had received help from a soup kitchen, and this had inspired him to set up his own as an adult. He said the London soup kitchen had given him “a hot meal, a bed and good advice”, and he had never forgotten this.