Wexford soup kitchen sees unprecedented demand
April 20 2021 06:30 AM
Over 200 hot meals were provided for some of Wexford’s most vulnerable people over the course of two nights at the Bullring last week. ADVERTISING
Set up by Wexford People Helping People (WPHP) the soup kitchen was in operation from 6.30-8 p.m. on Thursday (15th) and Saturday evening (17th) with hot meals provided for anyone who needed them.
Aided by sister group Wexford Homeless Housing Action Group (WHHAG), volunteers from WPHP catered for those suffering from food poverty as the true impact of the pandemic was laid bare for all to see.
‘We were really surprised by the demand for it, we were almost overwhelmed the first night,’ said Claire Malone of WPHP. ‘We catered for around 100 people, we had 100 hot meals and the majority of those went out. By the end we had absolutely no food left.’
And far from being limited to rough sleepers and the homeless, Claire said people from all walks of life came to avail of the hot food.
‘On the Saturday we had a lot of families come and they had children with them, it’s upsetting to see children there and upsetting for the families too so we’re setting up a delivery service so they don’t have to return,’ she explained.
‘We’re seeing people from across the spectrum, it’s not just all rough sleepers, we’re seeing people who have fallen on hard times because of the pandemic, who are going without food to pay their mortgages.
‘We see parents who are both working but because rents are so high, or HAP rates are too low, they’re forgoing meals so their kids can eat.
‘Some of the people we’re helping would have helped us out in the past, it’s really disheartening to see. Food poverty is a serious issue in the county.’
Given the level of demand, Claire said the plan is to make these soup kitchens a weekly occurrence. However, as restrictions ease and life in Wexford town returns to something approaching normality she admitted a new venue may have to be sourced.
‘We plan to host it every week but the Bullring might not be the best option moving forward as businesses reopen, so we’re hoping to have an indoor space eventually.’
Thanking District Manager Angela Laffan for facilitating the initiative at such short notice, Claire also praised Kelly’s Cafe, Newbay House Hotel, Frank’s Place and all the other local businesses who donated food and drinks.
The soup kitchen will continue to operate in Wexford town on Thursday evenings, visit @wexfordpeoplehelpingpeople on Facebook for further updates and details of times and locations.