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christmas 2016

"We'd starve without them" - Over 2,000 people lined up to get Christmas food parcels this morning

The Capuchin Day Centre hands out the parcels every year to people in need.

IMG_20161222_105655 People lining up outside the Capuchin Day Centre to collect Christmas care packages. Cormac Fitzgerald / TheJournal.ie Cormac Fitzgerald / TheJournal.ie / TheJournal.ie

OVER 2,000 PEOPLE lined up outside the Capuchin Day Centre this morning to receive Christmas food parcels to help them through the festive period.

The long queue of people stretched down Bow Street in the north inner city and around the corner onto May Lane.

People came from far and wide to collect the Christmas care packages, with those gathered saying that they would not be able to get through the season without them.

The crowd was made up of men and women. There were many mothers and fathers with prams and children in tow.

IMG_20161222_101807 Cormac Fitzgerald / TheJournal.ie Cormac Fitzgerald / TheJournal.ie / TheJournal.ie

The Capuchin Day Centre – run by the Franciscan monks and overseen by Br Kevin Crowley – has been in operation for over half a century.

Every year, it hands out thousands of Christmas parcels for people in need.

1,7000 people had already passed through the door and into the centre to collect a parcel when TheJournal.ie visited at about 10.30 this morning.

People working at the centre – which also provides hot meals for breakfast and lunch most days of the year – said they would likely hand out close to 3,000 parcels before the day’s end.

“We’d starve without them”

Lisa Morris and Lillian Kavanagh from Dolphin’s Barn collected packages to bring home with them. Speaking to TheJournal.ie outside of the centre, they said they would find it impossible to afford things at Christmas without the help of the Capuchins.

“It’s very difficult this time of year,” said Lillian.

“We would be lost without them in there, they help out so much. We’d starve without them.”

Lillian’s daughter and granddaughter live with her as her daughter can’t afford to rent her own place.

IMG_20161222_111013 Piles of bags lined up inside the Capuchin Day Centre. Cormac Fitzgerald / TheJournal.ie Cormac Fitzgerald / TheJournal.ie / TheJournal.ie

“Everybody is struggling and we’re all just trying to help each other,” she said.

Many people don’t want to talk to the media, and keep their heads down as they queue up and leave.

One man who does speak is Marcin*. Originally from Poland, he has been living in Ireland for the past 11 years.

Marcin says he recently fell on hard times and has been living between hostels in Dublin.

“Without them here we would starve,” he said.

It is very hard to feed yourself, after I pay for the hostel I only have €40 left for the week.
Without the Capuchins I don’t know what I would do.

Volunteers

IMG_20161222_110752 Volunteers with bags of goods ready to be handed out. Cormac Fitzgerald / TheJournal.ie Cormac Fitzgerald / TheJournal.ie / TheJournal.ie

Inside the centre, piles and piles of bulky blue bags were stacked high against the wall.

A team of volunteers handed them out to people as they entered.

Items in the bags included bread, rashers, a chicken and cheese.

IMG_20161222_110545 Volunteer Barry Corcoran holding up the items contained in the blue bags. Cormac Fitzgerald / TheJournal.ie Cormac Fitzgerald / TheJournal.ie / TheJournal.ie

Former Lord Mayor Christy Burke was present inside in the building, handing out packages with the other volunteers.

“People find themselves in this position not through a fault of their own, it’s a failure of the State,” said Burke.

“I’m honoured and I’m privileged to be part of the volunteers here today and to give back a little to society.

It’s quite evident that you can see the despair in some people. People who are homeless, people who are living in bedsits and can’t afford food.

As people collected their goods, the smiled and thanked the volunteers. Many wished each other a happy Christmas, and then ventured back out into the cold December morning.

*Marcin’s name has been changed to protect his identity

Read; A Nama office building is now being occupied by homeless activists in Sligo town

Read: “We’re ready to go in” – Dublin City Council has team on standby to enter Apollo House

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