The lines of people queueing for food in Dublin are getting longer, claim several voluntary food tables and charities.
And the volunteers are united in calling for urgent supports, as it is getting harder and harder to deliver to Dublin families, pregnant women and refugees struggling to secure emergency accommodation.
For Diarmuid ‘Dougie’ MacDubhghlais who volunteers with Éire Nua Food Initiative which hosts two standalone food tables at the GPO twice a week, the demand for food and supplies is spiralling.
“I do two nights with Éire Nua and one with Grubs Up. We feed over 200 people a night, and there’s never enough. Remember there are so many other charities and voluntary soup kitchens and tables in Dublin city during the week.”
Dougie noted there has been an increase in refugees and asylum seekers also needing assistance.
“Some are living in tents waiting on emergency accommodation and have so little. Many come with Google translators and ask for shoes, toiletries, clothing and basic sanitary goods.
“They may be unable to eat certain dinners/meats owing to religious restrictions. We try to facilitate them with alternative snacks but it’s difficult to cater for all and the demand is growing. There are Dublin old age pensioners, single parents and refugees in the queue and it’s sad that we can’t always give the time to assist further or even just to have a friendly chat and show some compassion.”
Dougie noted that a group from Meath, Help Our Homeless, come up on Mondays now to distribute food at the GPO, and also on Thursdays. Finglas group Feed Our Homeless also carry out food outreach services throughout Dublin on Mondays and Thursdays, often up to 60 locations a night.
“On Tuesdays, it’s Grubs Up and after them, food is handed out by The Sikh Group. On Wednesday, there’s a new group Tidy Life on the scene; Friday it’s the Muslim Sisters of Éire and they’ve recently reported the huge challenges trying to feed women and children who should not be living on the street.”
“Along with The Lighthouse, Ocras Éire, A Lending Hand, there are at least two food services in the city every night along with the Liberty Soup Run (in the Liberties), a soup kitchen on Grafton Street – not forgetting registered charities and homeless services.
“How long more before the bubble bursts?” asked Dougie.
For Michéal MacLoughlainn, Chair of Ocras Éire and a volunteer with Empowering Communities, it’s appalling to see the basic need for food and general supports.
“We get a few texts every day for food, just food. We have a huge network of volunteers, some of whom work with other charities and food tables. It’s not just families in emergency accommodation (when they can get it) who need help.
“We are delivering food hampers to Dublin families with mortgages and growing bills. The bills in recent years are growing and getting harder to keep on top of. Sadly, for organisations and charities, it was easier to manage pre-Covid when donations were flying in. Now, the donations are drying up as businesses and people struggle, we often meet the need from our own pockets.”
Michéal noted there are now 80-90 refugees staying in anonymous accommodation who also need assistance. “Many were camped outside the iPASS offices previously but after the insidious right-wing attacks, they have been moved to a safe location by the Revolutionery Housing League (RHL). They too need toiletries, clothing, bedding and food, etc.
“Donations to Ocras Éire through our FB page are always welcome or contact 087 627 5647.”
Caoimhín, a volunteer with RHL, stated many of the asylum seekers are highly skilled people who can’t work for six months after arriving in Ireland.
“Contrary to right wing propaganda, they do want to work and to contribute to Irish society. People within the RHL accommodation are already doing community work with Dublin groups, i.e. tidy towns, The Red Cross and other charities. They are already giving to their adopted society.
“Some organisations ask for paperwork not raised yet, that’s an issue. They have electricity and running water provided in our RHL accommodation, but they don’t all have access to Wifi and technology. They are trying to progress their paperwork and to contribute to their respective Dublin communities.”
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