ALL of the 900-plus sleeping bags that were gathered after the Electric Picnic by Tom Duffy and Portlaoise Action to Homelessness (PATH) volunteers have now been distributed to homeless charities around the country.
The group was given access to two camp sites following the Electric Picnic in Stradbally last month before a massive clean-up took place.
Tom Duffy said: “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 who need them, especially now that the weather is changing for the worse.
“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 himself. He was a key figure in Apollo House last Christmas and has worked with homeless advocate Fr Peter McVerry. He holds a diploma and a degree in addiction counselling.
Mr Walsh said: “I was thrilled to make contact with Tom on Facebook and was 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 a 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 people would usually be studying a wide range of social subjects but they get to see what the problems are like first hand.
“The people we help 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. Well over 3,000 children are homeless in Ireland at the moment and 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 Co Laois who must have spent many hours washing and drying them. The cars are full to the brim and many homeless people will benefit from every one of these.”
Feed our Homeless Inner City Dublin can be found on Facebook and further information is available from Tony Walsh on 085 8109105.