Midwest Simon Community Foodbank – Jackie Bonfield, CEO Mid West Simon Community, Eleshia Fahy, Head of Operations at Mid West Simon Community and Dominic Locke, Kerry Group at Midwest Simon Foodbank. Picture: Richard Lynch/ilovelimerick
Midwest Simon Community Foodbank asks businesses and community for help
On Friday, November 27, the Midwest Simon Community held their second last food bank for those suffering from food poverty in Limerick before Christmas. Richard Lynch of I Love Limerick was invited to film and meet the lovely people who run this vital service after a video I Love Limerick put on their Facebook last month about the foodbank ended up going viral.
When we arrived at the foodbank early morning, despite it being only 9.45 am and the food bank wasn’t due to open until 11 am, the line was going around the block.
Midwest Simon Community provides this monthly foodbank service to the people struggling financially in Limerick. This operation provides people with a more dignified way to receive help getting food for their families and themselves. The foodbank they provide can only offer so much help on their own and so they are asking for help from local businesses and local people to help them help those who need it the most this Christmas.
Midwest Simon Community has been established since October 2006. The service covers the counties of Clare, Limerick, and North Tipperary. They aim to support people through their journey out of homelessness by providing appropriate accommodation and care services, tailored to their individual needs.
In Limerick, the foodbank operates from their office on Speaker’s Corner, Lower Carey’s Road. To date Midwest Simon supports over 2,000 people a week with food aid across the region and is the second-largest distributor of the FEAD programme in Ireland. The Fund of European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD) is designed to support member states in addressing the basic needs of the most deprived people in our community.
Since our previous article on their foodbank, the support they have received from different groups and individuals donating their time and their resources to help Midwest Simon has grown. Thanks to the publicity they received from our video, Kerry Group arrived with a large donation of food for them to hand out to the people during this foodbank.
Jenny Walsh, the Foodbank Coordinator for Midwest Simon Community, said, “The Kerry Group is coming here today as a result of the exposure from the last foodbank by I Love Limerick. Kerry Group reached out to us and said they would love to help with the foodbank. As a result of the last video and story, we have even received more volunteers which has been a massive help.”
One of the Kerry Group representatives, Dominic Locke, said, “We are delighted as a business to be able to support this wonderful initiative by donating a few of our food products to the food drive, especially at this time. It is so important that we all look out for each other and this is just our way of supporting and giving back to the local community in which we operate.”
The Midwest Simon foodbanks are available in Limerick, Nenagh, and Ennis. In Limerick, since the start of Covid-19, the number of people Midwest Simon has helped with their food bank has doubled and the longer we stay in lockdown the more the numbers grow. Covid-19 has had a massive effect on the people of Ireland’s regular income and a lot of people have been left to rely on charities such as the Midwest Simon Community.
The last foodbank before Christmas will be available on Friday, December 18. You can attend there from 11 am to 1 pm and 2 pm to 4 pm. If you are elderly or vulnerable you can inform a member of staff and they will allow you to go to the front of the line so that you are not putting yourself at risk.
Eleshia Fahy, Head of Operations at Midwest Simon Community, said, “We are going to put out a huge call out today to big or small corporates that are willing to donate some food to us. We are always afraid of running out of food for the people who so desperately need it. We are always, always willing to accept any donations that are possible for people to give.”
Jackie Bonfield, CEO of Midwest Simon Community, added, “Kerry Group is providing us with some refrigerated food which we can’t normally provide so we are delighted. Hopefully, between now and Christmas we will get a lot more donations which will add to people’s Christmas table. So, they can actually celebrate Christmas like all of us want to. We have had a terrible year with Covid-19, and numbers have increased by over 40% with so many people losing their jobs. We are asking people to donate as much as they can so that everyone can celebrate Christmas with their close family this year, it is what we want to do and it is what we want everyone to be able to do.”
For more info call 061 608 980.
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