“Against the odds” of COVID-19, a Limerick religious charity has packed and distributed 6,000 Christmas hampers for vulnerable in visuals and families across the Treaty city and county.
The Redemptorists, working with Limerick Food Partnership and 40 organizations across Limerick City and County, also donated food parcels to homeless service groups.
“This has been our most challenging year since the Christmas Hamper Appeal began operating in 1972,” said Fr Seamus Enright, Rector of the Redemptorists in Limerick and Director of the Christmas Hamper Appeal.
“It has been both financially and logistically challenging, but we’ve done it against the odds. The needs are greater than ever and we’ve had to reimagine the way we pack and distribute the hampers,” Fr Enright said.
The partnership with Limerick Food Partnership “has been invaluable“. “We have spent €165,000 on food for the hampers and have also received thousands of euros worth of donated food, and we are still fundraising,” Fr Enright added.
One of the projects supported by the Redemptorists is Mid-West Simon, which has reported that demand for its food bank has increased by more than 56 per cent in the last 12 months.
The Redemptorists dispatched “a lot of donated food to Novas, enough they tell us to feed 100 families and 400 residents of their hostels and centres for the difficult months of January and February,” Fr Enright added
St Munchin’s Community Centre, located on northside of Limerick city, has packed and distributed 1040 of the hampers, while the Ballyhoura Development CLG has ferried hampers throughout the East of the County and into North Cork.
The Ballyhoura Development, with funding from the Redemptorist Perpetual Help Fund and Tusla, is currently supporting 38 families in a special Christmas Food Initiative, providing cooking and nutritional advice as well as hampers.
“This is all made possible by the generosity of the people of Limerick and the surrounding areas, and a group of very dedicated volunteers,” added Fr Enright.
The Christmas Hamper Donation Centre at the Redemptorists Church, Mount Saint Alphonsus Street, Limerick, will remain open until 2pm on Christmas Eve.
A Redemptorists collection will also take place at Dunnes, the Jetland Centre, on Christmas Eve from 7am to 3pm.