ONE sure sign that Christmas has arrived in Cork is the presence of the bright beacons of hope that are the boys and girls of SHARE, who don their yellow jackets each year and take to the city streets in order to raise vital funds for Cork’s vulnerable older people.
The annual Christmas Fast and Fundraising campaign, got underway last Friday, with the blessing of the SHARE crib at Daunt’s Square, will see almost 1,800 students from 21 Cork schools do their bit for the coming 10 days as they brave the wind and rain in their efforts to support this long-running Leeside institution.
The SHARE story began almost 50 years ago in 1970, when Brother Jerome Kelly, the then Headmaster of Presentation Brothers College, instructed his students to explore the streets of Cork in search of a pressing social issue that was cause for great concern. The results were unanimous as each group of students was struck by the number of older Cork residents living in isolation and squalor, confined to cramped attic and basement rooms with little or no protection from the harsh winter weather. In an effort to combat this issue and aid those most affected, the organisation now known as SHARE was established by Brother Jerome Kelly and has been serving the older population of Cork ever since.
At the helm of the 2018 Student Leadership Team is Jack Murphy, a 5th Year student at Presentation Brothers College, who will carry out his duties as Chair of the committee by rallying his peers and working with them to keep the candle of this age-old tradition burning.
Here, Jack speaks about his role with SHARE and what the experience means to him.
“It was such an honour to have been selected as Chair of the SHARE Student Executive this year, not only because it is one of Cork’s most well-known organisations but also because it is synonymous with my school. I’m proud to be a part of this year’s campaign and I’m looking forward to getting stuck in now that it has officially kicked off.
“I’ve always been familiar with SHARE and the amazing work carried out by the organisation, but it wasn’t until this year that it really hit home how important it actually is.
“We pay regular visits to the residents of SHARE, which is something that has brought us great joy – and I think I can speak on behalf of everyone involved when I say that.
“It has been such an enriching experience to meet the residents and to learn about their lives and to get a whole new perspective on the world from their point of view.
“There may be a big age gap between them and us as students, but it’s amazing how quickly you can find common ground and interests once you take the time to sit and chat.
“As the months have gone by and we’ve become more and more fond of our new friends, it’s become increasingly important to us to work as hard as we can this Christmas to raise the funds needed to cater for the many residents helped by SHARE.
“If it wasn’t for SHARE, many of these wonderful people would be living in fear and in need, maybe feeling lonely or abandoned, which is an awful thought now we’ve come to know them so well. I know that every student involved will be more than happy to wear the yellow jackets and represent SHARE over the next couple of weeks in an effort to do as much as we can to make our friends’ lives that bit better.
“On behalf of my fellow students and the SHARE organisation, I’d like to appeal to the people of Cork to dig deep over the festive season and embrace the spirit of Christmas by supporting SHARE in any way you can. We’re all guilty of spending too much time in our own bubble focusing on ourselves, so this Christmas I ask you to join us as we give a little something back to the people that deserve it most.”
The public can visit the SHARE Crib at Daunt’s Square, (near Grand Parade) or their cribs at Mahon Point, Merchant’s Quay, Wilton Shopping Centre, Blackpool Shopping Centre, Bishopstown Court, Douglas Court, Douglas Village Shopping Centre, Riverview Shopping Centre in Bandon, SuperValu Carrigaline and Quish SuperValu Ballincollig..
Alternatively, donations can be posted or delivered to SHARE, The Brother Jerome Kelly Day Care Centre, 43 Sheare’s Street, Cork where acknowledgements will be issued immediately. Visit www.sharecork.org.