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The shelves at this food bank are looking bare and they need your help

Crosscare are looking for food donations as demand increases ahead of Christmas.

Source: Michelle Hennessy/TheJournal.ie

THE SHELVES AT the Crosscare food bank on Dublin’s Portland Row are looking sparse.

Last year, the organisation, run by the Archdiocese of Dublin, distributed 750 tonnes of food. This year, staff expect this will stretch to 1,200 tonnes.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin launched an appeal yesterday asking people to donate any basic food items they can ahead of Christmas, when there will be a huge demand from struggling families. Crosscare had to set up four new food banks along the east coast in the last year to meet this demand.

Today, Martin said it was “not a happy thing” to have to appeal for the food but it is badly needed.

Crosscare’s Senior Manager for Food Services Michael McDonagh said an appeal last year raised enough food to last months, allowing the service to give out several thousand hampers that would make up a weekly shop for a family. However the increasing strain on the service this year has left it struggling to keep up.

A hot meal and some friendly faces

The food bank on Portland Row is based in the Community Café, which offers affordable meals to the community.

Source: Michelle Hennessy/TheJournal.ie

Archbishop Martin said places like this café give people a space where they are supported and where they can “keep an eye on one another to make sure no one drifts off in the wrong direction”.

At the café, we met Clive, who has been homeless for 15 years. He said his addiction to drugs and alcohol resulted in his becoming homeless. He is currently on methadone, determined to get clean.

Clive said he worked in construction for years during the boom, holding down a job even while he was homeless.

“I’ve worked all my life, I went every day,” he said. “It was hard, especially them winter mornings. I just want to get settled now.”

Kelly also visits the Community Café regularly as she said it is a good place to get together with her friends. She has been homeless, on and off, since she was 16.

She told TheJournal.ie she often has difficulty getting into hostels at night and is terrified to sleep on the streets.

“It’s twice a week you’d be put in a hostel and the rest of the week you might not,” she said.

A girl needs to be put in a hostel. I’m not using – I’m not on anything and there are people getting burned and everything in their sleeping bags. I’m not sleeping on the streets.

How you can help

Crosscare is asking all Dublin parishes to help collect food for the food bank over the first week of December. Parishioners will be able to bring food supplies to their local church at weekend Mass times on 6 and 7 December and Crosscare will collect and redistribute the food to those most in need.

Types of food urgently needed include pasta, rise, fruit juice, tea, coffee, soup, sugar, powdered milk, tinned meat and fish, tinned fruit and vegetables , packaged dessert, biscuits, and hygiene products.

Read: Homeless man found dead in doorway just metres from Leinster House>

Read: Fund for homeless people set up after Galway man dies alone in London>

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