Food appeal for families going hungry in Laois and Offaly

Close to 1,000 people including young children don't have enough food to eat

Damian Moran

Reporter:

Damian Moran

Email:

damian@offalyexpress.ie

Food appeal to feed starving people in Offaly

Food appeal to feed starving people in Offaly

An urgent appeal for food and donations to feed starving families in Laois and Offaly is underway.

Tullamore man, Ken Smollen, has been making food runs across the counties delivering food donated in various locations and by businesses for more than a year but he is urgently appealing for more assistance. 

At the last count, Ken was visiting 253 families, more than 1,000 people in total and more than half of those are young children, delivering food packages so families simply don't go hungry from day to day.

On Monday night alone, he visited 21 families with food. He travels across Laois, Offaly, Westmeath and even to Galway delivering food to families who sometimes simply have no food to give to their hungry children as well as elderly couples and people from all walks of life.

These are just a small selection of some of the upsetting and urgent messages that Ken has received and which he has posted on Facebook. 

"Sorry Ken what time will you be calling to me my 3 kids had no breakfast sorry for asking Ken"

“Thanks ken for calling to me again last night. I know you have a lot of others to call to but things are really bad for us. I wanted to tell you last night but I couldn’t find the words. Ive been living out of the bag you brought me 2 weeks ago because I have to make sure that my 2 boys have enough to eat but its really hard. My oldest boy asked me last week why I drink so much tea but I didn’t tell him that tea takes my hungry feeling away. When they go to bed I make some soup for myself that you gave me or maybe a bowl of rice. The reason I rang you yesterday is that I had no soup or rice left and Im sick of drinking tea all the time.”

"Just back from delivering food to a number of families in different areas of County Offaly this morning… Three stories that I was told by mothers of young children stood out… The first one told me that she wouldn’t be sending her 3 children to school tomorrow morning as she doesn’t have anything for their lunch… The second one told me that her children went to school this morning without having any breakfast. Nor did she have anything to give them for their lunch… The second lady confirmed for me what I’ve suspected for a long time… She told her children not to admit to anyone that they didn’t have anything for breakfast… Just how many other children are being asked to keep quiet about having nothing to eat because of feelings of shame and embarrassment? The third mother also told me that she wouldn’t be sending her children to school tomorrow morning as she had nothing for their lunch… She told me that she contacted the largest and best known charity yesterday asking for their help… She was told to write a letter to them and that her case would be assessed next week…"

Click here to visit his Facebook page to read more heart breaking testimonials and to read more about the work being put in to feed starving people in the county.

A number of businesses, community groups and generous individuals have already given to the appeal but more is needed to feed the 253 families who have come forward in need of food.

If you would like to make a cash donation, there is a Go Fund Me page for the Ken Smollen Food Appeal. Click here to go to the page.

The locations and individuals accepting food donations are:

Cash N’Carry Direct, Cloncollig, Tullamore, beside Aldi (Ken Smollen Food Appeal trolley behind check-out point)
The Bakehouse Café & Restaurant, O’Connor Square, Tullamore
Elvery Sports, Shopping Centre, Edenderry (Food Appeal box inside main entrance)
Pressed 4 Time Dry Cleaners, Edenderry (Food Appeal box on counter)
Supervalu, Portarlington
Laura McDevitt, Edenderry - 0872900792
Deirdre Saunders, Rhode – 0862147219
Lorraine Tierney, Daingean - 0872126380
Elaine Woods, Banagher – 0872195824
Jenny Weight, Portarlington – 0863432893

For more details on the tireless work that Ken Smollen puts in around the county, click here to visit his Facebook page.

Ken will also be launching a toy appeal for Christmas in the coming weeks.