GALLERY:

Portlaoise children sell buns for PATH homeless charity

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

Email:

lynda.kiernan@leinsterexpress.ie

Children at Holy Family Senior School in Portlaoise have donated €700 to the homeless in Dublin, from a bake sale in their school.

The children decided to help homeless people after they learned about their plight from a volunteer from Portlaoise Action to Homelessness (PATH), who visited the school before Christmas to outline their work.

Volunteers with the Portlaoise charity drive up to Dublin every Saturday with hot food and drinks that were donated locally, as well as toiletries, small items of clothing and treats, to feed and talk to the homeless people who are living on the streets.

Principal Des Sutton said that the children were genuinely touched by the problem and wanted to help.

“The children really identified with what PATH are doing, it stirred their hearts, and gave them a real insight into what it is like to be homeless, they were really empathetic,” he said.

Teacher Marie O'Keeffe and her Fifth Class took it on themselves to organise a cake sale after the visit last December. Parents and children got busy baking hundreds of sweet treats the night before.

The children priced all the buns and cakes and turned their classroom into a café, displaying all the treats, for a big fundraiser just before the Christmas break.  The children all had their own jobs, some in charge of finance, others in sales, others in cleaning up.

Mr Sutton praised them for their hard work.

“They were selling like billy-o,” he said.

The cake sale was a huge success, with everybody in the school coming along to buy buns and cakes and donate money. The class raised a total of €1,300, with €700 of that in aid of the homeless charity PATH. Another €600 was donated towards facilities in their new school in Aghnaharna.

Deputy Principal Meree O'Sullivan was thrilled at both the success, and the generous response of the children.

“We are absolutely thrilled that the children did so well, and particularly how well Marie and her class took this on and put such time and effort into it. It was a really worthwhile experience,” she said.

This January, Cathy Collins from PATH returned to visit Ms O’Keeffe’s 5th class, where she formally accepted the cheque for €700. PATH issued a thank you.

“Your kindness is so appreciated by us in PATH and we will ensure that your donation will be used to buy much needed supplies for our homeless friends in Dublin,” they said.

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