CORK Penny Dinners soup kitchen underwent a specialist deep-clean today to ensure that volunteers who provide a vital service to the most vulnerable can continue to supply food during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Specialist contractors, Sanitise Ireland, donated their time to do the deep-clean for free, a gesture which Caitriona Twomey, head of Cork Penny Dinners greatly appreciated.
"Lloyd Creag, who owns Sanitise Ireland, is from Cork and offered the service to us free of charge.
"The special treatment he uses has killed the MRSA bug and is clinically proven to kill the coronavirus.
"Lloyd has offered to continue this cleaning service for the duration of the crisis, which is very kind.
"Our premises is always very clean, but this gives an extra layer of comfort, especially to the volunteers.
"I reckon we will be the safest place in Ireland," Caitriona said.
Cork Penny Dinners, one of the country's oldest charities, is experiencing a greater demand on their services, but Caitriona has assured the public that help will always be available to them.
"The demand for our services has quadrupled since the coronavirus crisis began and we are expecting that to grow.
"People's financial situations have changed very suddenly as a result of this pandemic but our message at Cork Penny Dinners is clear - don't be short on food, we're here to help whenever and if ever you need it," she said.
Since the coronavirus outbreak, Penny Dinners has streamlined the number of volunteers to minimise risk.
"We've streamlined our team of volunteers to ensure we can adhere to physical distancing.
"It's a very strong core team which we will keep the same throughout the crisis," Caitriona explained.
The volunteers are also going out to rough sleepers, supplying them with a nutritious four-course meal.
Caitriona expressed her sincere thanks to Cork businesses who have been very generous with their food donations since the Covid-19 outbreak.
"Apache Pizza come up with hundreds of pizza and chip meals for us to deliver and it gave people a real lift," she said.
"The emotional strain that this situation is putting on people is massive so things like that really brighten up people's day and provide a much-needed pick me up," she continued.
Other businesses, such as AllFresh Wholesalers and the Elm Tree have also donated fruit and vegetables to the charity.
Whilst the charity has temporarily suspended the receipt of donations of clothes and nursery items, for the time being, they are continuing to appeal for food donations.
"People have been incredible and we would continue to appeal to the public to provide practical food donations where possible.
"Things like canned goods and Pot Noodle are ideal," she said.