Poverty in Dublin: Over 2,500 food parcels given to city’s poor
Capuchin day centre once again comes to the aid of poorest and most needy in capital
Food queue: People form an orderly line shortly after 5am for Christmas parcels. Photograph: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie
More than 2,500 Christmas food parcels were distributed on Friday to some of the poorest individuals and families in Dublin at the Capuchin day centre.
The centre provides breakfast and lunch for up to 1, 000 people six days a week and distributes larger Christmas parcels annually. It also dispenses food parcels weekly and baby supplies including nappies and formula milk to about 300 families every Monday,
Centre co-ordinator Alan Bailey says people were queuing shortly after 5am for the Christmas parcels which contained butter, ham, cooked turkey portions, cooked chicken, rashers, sausages, black pudding, milk, tea, sugar, biscuits, custard, tinned salmon and tinned vegetables.
Among those who had collected a parcel was Siber Haibib who returned at 1pm with her four children – aged between 16 and four – for the lunch.
The family are Irish citizens and had been in Ireland between 2002 and 2014 before moving to the United Kingdom. Following the breakdown of her marriage, Ms Haibib returned to Ireland in September with the children and they now live in one hotel room.
She heard of the day centre from a friend who suggested it as she has to be out of the hotel between 9am and 6pm.
“In the morning after I bring the children to schools, I come here and join the people here. They are nice people. After I go to a shopping centre and stay there and hope security won’t tell me to go.”
A few weeks ago her youngest child was sick and she had to bring her with her for the day, around the city, until they could return to the hotel. “It is really hard, but this is a good place.”
While the centre has always provided meals and assistance to single homeless people, a section of the hall is now cordoned off for families.
Stacey Chapman too has returned for lunch, with her children aged two and 12, having collected a food parcel in the morning.
The lives of others
They are from from Blanchardstown, have been homeless three years and are now in emergency accommodation in Ashbourne, Co Meath. She drops her son to school in Blanchardstown each morning before travelling to the centre for lunch, returns to Blanchardstown and then Ashbourne.
“They are very kind here. It’s a great place. They helped me when I was pregnant too and with the baby with nappies and that. Christmas? They gave us a hamper so I just have to get some potatoes and make the most of it. You’d like your home and your own stability. It’s very hard on you as a mother surviving being homeless and trying to protect your kids from it.”
Donna O’Brien is with her three-year-old son. Having been homeless for three years and having “fought hard” for a council flat, they moved into one in September. But, she says, it is damp, cold and with mould growing around the windows.
“I had to move him into my bed because the heating is gone in his room. We wake in the morning and we’re shivering. The council say they’ll replace the windows but I’ve had to move out. It’s just too cold.
“We are with friends, but that can’t last. The council are saying we can go back into emergency accommodation. I’m devastated,” she says. She does not want to talk about Christmas.
Outside, two more families are waiting for space in the family section.
The centre will close on Christmas Eve at 4 pm, reopening for breakfast at 7am on St Stephen’s Day.
On Christmas Day, the Knights of St Columbanus will serve dinner from 11am at the RDS.