Cork's Penny Dinners urges restaurants to donate unused food before it expires

Cork's Penny Dinners urges restaurants to donate unused food before it expires
Michael Leahy handing out a food parcel at Cork Penny Dinners. Picture Dan Linehan

RESTAURANTS forced to close due to Covid-19 restrictions are being urged to donate their unused food stock to help poverty stricken families in Cork.

The impassioned plea came from the chairman of Cork Penny Dinner's trustee board, Gary Heslin who said the charity is struggling during the pandemic.

Cork Penny Dinners is currently operating a take-away service that serves a total of 250 people by day alone. At night volunteers travel by bicycle to emergency accommodation settings with a further 100 meals for those in need.

"Now that stock rotation has stopped we are asking businesses to take a look at what they have and consider using it to help feed the people of Cork," Mr Heslin said. 

"It's likely that there is a lot of food out there that will be out of date by the time restaurants reopen. Rather, than binning all that food we would like to see it put to good use to help those down on their luck."

He said that charities need all the help they can get during the Covid-19 pandemic.

"I think the last thing everyone wants is to see food go into a skip that could have gone to help those who need it. Like most other charities during the pandemic we are feeling the pinch and need all the help we can get. There are 500 hampers being given out a week now to people in desperate need. If restaurants or bars can help us by donating food and making something positive of this then we will be very grateful."

He gave a nod to the generosity of Cork businesses who have come to their aid in the past.

"Cork businesses have been so good to us in the past and we have a great relationship with so many. The positive here is that this has bonded us together as a nation."

He spoke of how poverty for both families and individuals has added another layer of hardship to the situation.

"The social isolation has been tough for people, especially because they can't see family and friends.

"However, as Bono said, we’re not all in the same boat, but we are going through the same storm,”

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