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Homeless charity forced to put services on hold after van 'written off' in crash

Volunteers were at the Electric Picnic site to collect sleeping bags when the crash occurred.

Image: Feed the Homeless

A HOMELESS OUTREACH charity has had to put its services on hold after its van was damaged in a road crash.

Founder of Feed Our Homeless Tony Walsh told TheJournal.ie that he and his partner Natasha, along with a number of volunteers, were in a convoy of vehicles at the Electric Picnic site in Stradbally to collect sleeping bags on Monday.

He said they were waiting to be directed through the gate when a car crashed into the back of the van Walsh was in, which was at the end of their convoy.

The back of the van sustained significant damage and Walsh said there was also damage to the front as it hit the vehicle ahead due to the impact. Walsh and his wife were both taken to hospital afterwards – Natasha has her arm in a sling and Tony said he has neck and back pain.

“They’ve given us pain medication and we’ll have to go to a physio, but to be honest I’m not thinking about that, I’m more concerned about getting another van to get back out on the street and continue our services,” he said.

Feed Our Homeless primarily offers a soup kitchen service, providing hot meals to up to 400 people two nights a week on College Green in Dublin’s city centre. It also offers outreach services and provides information for people and families affected by homelessness.

Walsh said the van is a vital part of the service as it enables them to transport the food and also collect supplies from the businesses it has partnered with.

“This has brought us to a standstill. The guards said the van is probably written off and it takes so long for insurance companies to get things done. We can’t stop the service for that long, we need to be back out there this weekend because people are depending on us.”

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Walsh said the charity has already received two anonymous donations to help purchase a replacement van but the charity still needs to raise the rest to get its service running again. So far the charity has received €255 in online donations of the €5,000 extra it needs. 

“I would personally like to thank the public for their continued support and thank the anonymous donators. 

“Our volunteers are passionate about continuing our services, and I’m just praying that we’ll be able to get back out there this weekend.”

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