FORMER Debenhams workers gifted their staff party funds to a Cork charity as a gesture of appreciation for the community's support.
Ger Growley, who previously worked in administration in Debenhams, Mahon Point, and her colleagues donated €600 worth of funds to Cork Penny Dinners - an organisation helping feed those in need in Cork.
Workers have been officially picketing the company's 11 Irish stores for several weeks calling for a fair redundancy package.
"The Irish operation closed suddenly in March resulting in the loss of 2,000 jobs. Ger said that she and her colleagues had wanted to give something back to the community who have been supporting them throughout the ordeal.
"Every year the company gave something towards a party," she explained.
"We opted for a summer barbecue but the Flying Enterprise gave us our deposit back as they weren't sure when it could actually go ahead. It was my colleague Orla O'Brien who suggested that we give the money to Cork Penny Dinners. It's a local charity and everyone was so touched by the stories from Caitríona Twomey who runs the organisation.
"She said their donation was a way of giving back to the community."
There was so much solidarity within the community. People stood with us and brought us pizza and coffee. They chatted to us and helped everyone through. We wanted to give something back to the community."
She said that hearing the stories of hardship from Cork Penny Dinners made them realise how lucky they are.
"It's local and everyone is aware of the work they do. The last few weeks have been hard for everyone as we still haven't received a redundancy.
"Caitríona Twomey made a lot of people think. Although we are in a difficult situation she reminded us that there are people out there who have it so much harder. We're lucky to have our beds to go back to at night and not everyone has that."