Caitríona Twomey, who heads the soup kitchen charity, Cork Penny Dinners on Little Hanover Street, said that seeing the parents turn up with their toddler in a pram meant for dolls hit a raw nerve with volunteers at the centre.
The husband and wife had just lost their home when their child’s buggy broke.
Given their situation, they were unable to purchase a new one and could not afford transport to the city from Little Island, so they made the gruelling journey to Cork Penny Dinners on foot, pushing a toy pram instead.
The family went to Penny Dinners in search of help from Ms Twomey, who described them as very dignified and focused.
“This isn’t just shocking, it’s downright sad,” said Caitríona.
“The shock from seeing these things goes, but the sadness stays. At the end of the day, we’re all only human.
“Their whole world had fallen down but they fought back,” she said. “They made the best of what life had thrown at them and are determined to get back on their feet.”
:: To find out more about how to donate or access help from the charity visit www.corkpennydinners.ie.