Tom Duffy (Portlaoise) donates Electric Picnic camping equipment to Feed the Homeless Inner City Dublin volunteers. Pic: Stan Henderson
All of the camping equipment gathered after the Electric Picnic by Portlaoise Action to Homelessness (PATH) volunteers have now been distributed to voluntary homeless charities around the country.
The Laois group were given access to two camp sites following the Electric Picnic in Stradbally last month for two days before a massive clean-up took place. Some 900 sleeping bags, ground mats and tents were rescued and recycled for re-use in Laois.
Tom Duffy from Portlaoise spearheaded the collection of bags after this year's festival.
“I’m delighted that the sleeping bags are all gone from my home because they will be given to homeless people sleeping rough in doorways on the streets, especially now that the weather is changing for the worst. This is the time when they are desperately needed most," he said.
Tom said PATH has hundreds of them and many more were given to voluntary organisations that feed and clothe homeless people. Many went to Wexford, Cork, Kildare and several other places where people are sleeping rough.
One such voluntary organisation called Feed Our Homeless Inner City Dublin was founded by Tony Walsh, who has experienced homelessness. He was a key worker in Apollo House last Christmas and has worked as a key worker with Father Peter McVerry.
Tony was delighted to accept the PATH donation.
“I was thrilled to make contact with Tom on Facebook and overwhelmed when he asked me to come and collect a load of sleeping bags. We have over 40 volunteers in our voluntary group and we feed hundreds of homeless people four nights per week just across from Trinity College. We also go into schools and educate children on homelessness and addictions.
"We take students from UCD and Trinity College on our soup runs, these would usually be studying a wide range of social subjects but they get to see what the problems are like first hand. Our clients come from every county in Ireland. These sleeping bags that we have been kindly given are vital to saving people’s lives on the streets as the homeless crisis worsens by the day. There are well over 3000 children trapped into homelessness in Ireland at the moment and new babies are also being born into homelessness.
“We are so grateful for these sleeping bags and ground sheets and wish to sincerely thank everyone. Our gratitude goes out to the wonderful women of county Laois who must have spent many hours washing and drying them. We are overwhelmed by the generosity of the people here in Laois. The cars are full to the brim and there will be many homeless people benefiting from every one of these,” he said.
Feed our Homeless Inner City Dublin can be found on Facebook and further information is available from Tony Walsh on 085 8109105.