The future of a parish soup kitchen in the Archdiocese of Armagh and a charity delivering food parcels to elderly shielders on the margins in Dublin have been secured thanks to a major donation by the Albert Gubay Charitable Foundation Covid-19 Fund.
According to a spokesperson for the Little Flower Penny Dinners in Dublin, the food the charity provided during the pandemic was often the only human contact that clients experienced as they were required to self-isolate or cocoon and so were “particularly vulnerable”.
“The grant has been invaluable to us,” Ruth Harkness said.
Fr Mark O'Hagan of St Patrick’s Soup Kitchen/Food Parcels in Dundalk, Co Louth thanked the Albert Gubay Charitable Foundation for its financial help and explained that the charity is meeting a growing need within the community.
The Foundation, which was set up in 2010 by Catholic philanthropist Albert Gubay, the owner of Kwik Save and Total Fitness, made a €500,000 donation to the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference for distribution to Catholic charities in the Republic of Ireland which operate food banks and crisis funds.
The Little Flower Penny Dinners received €10,400 while the parishes in Dundalk and on the Cooley Peninsula in Co Louth received €50,000. Other charities reviewed and approved by a specially formed grants panel of Ireland’s four Archbishops were Crosscare (€360,000); Society of St Vincent de Paul (€70,000); and for the Irish Council for Prisoners Overseas (€9,600).
The Chair of the Council for Finance and General Purposes of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Bishop Dermot Farrell, said the “very generous donation” had been especially helpful “at this time as we face the fastest and deepest contraction in our economic history”.
He stressed that the charity and non-profit sector has been particularly vulnerable in this context.
According to Conor Hickey, chief executive of the Dublin diocesan charity Crosscare, the donation has allowed Crosscare to establish an emergency food provision centre in north Dublin where they are able to distribute thousands of food parcels to those most in need and to “provide crisis support for particularly vulnerable people.”