Bishop urges public to support Cork charity initiative to bring aid to Ukrainian refugees

The group is appealing to the public for donations of cash, female hygiene products, warm clothing, thermal underwear and non-perishable goods, and its volunteers intend to travel to Poland this week.
Bishop urges public to support Cork charity initiative to bring aid to Ukrainian refugees

Bishop Fintan Gavin said that he was glad that Blackrock-based Father Gerry O’Connor was working with Cork Humanitarian Aid Ireland and co-ordinating with a network of his fellow Redemptorist priests across Ukraine and Poland, to ensure that all donations will get directly to those most in need.Picture Denis Minihane.

The Catholic Bishop of Cork and Ross, Bishop Fintan Gavin, has asked the public to support a charity initiative bringing humanitarian aid to Ukrainian refugees.

Cork Humanitarian Aid Ireland, which is made up of volunteers from local charities Cork Missing Persons Search and Recovery (CCMPSAR) and Cork Penny Dinners, is working with a Cork-based Redemptorist priest to bring a convoy of humanitarian aid to Ukrainian refugees on the Polish-Ukrainian border.

The group is appealing to the public for donations of cash, female hygiene products, warm clothing, thermal underwear and non-perishable goods, and its volunteers intend to travel to Poland this week.

Bishop Gavin has opened the visitor centre at the North Cathedral as a drop-off point and storage depot for donations to Cork Humanitarian Aid Ireland, and he urged the public to donate, if they can, to help people in dire need.

“It’s a wonderful expression of solidarity with people at a very difficult time for our world, and it’s giving expression for us, for people of faith, at Lent, a time that we associate with prayer and giving,” the Bishop told The Echo.

“Prayer and giving are connected, and we need to be praying and giving in a very concrete way, and knowing that it’s going directly to the people in need gives expression to our faith.

“Prayer is central to our faith, but so too is speaking out against injustice, and it’s great that people have an opportunity locally to be able to mobilise our solidarity,” Bishop Gavin said.

The Bishop added that he was glad that Blackrock-based Father Gerry O’Connor was working with Cork Humanitarian Aid Ireland and co-ordinating with a network of his fellow Redemptorist priests across Ukraine and Poland, to ensure that all donations will get directly to those most in need.

“I’m delighted that we are involved, and I’m delighted that we were able to open the visitor centre at the cathedral,” Bishop Gavin said.

“I would ask people to try and contribute if they can. It’s at the heart of what we’re doing at Lent, and it gives practical expression to what we’re doing.” 

Caitriona Twomey, who is co-ordinator of Cork Penny Dinners and working with Cork Humanitarian Aid Ireland in a personal capacity, said the response from the public so far had been overwhelming.

“People are so decent, and they want to contribute and help, and we are seeing that in the visitor centre with the donations of new clothing, non-perishable goods and medical products."

Ms Twomey added that anyone wishing to make a contribution can call to the North Cathedral visitor centre or visit CCMPSAR’s or Penny Dinners’ Facebook pages.

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