By Elizabeth Lee
A CHARITY restaurant that serves hot, freshly-cooked food to people in need has issued an urgent appeal for help in the run-up to Christmas. St Clare’s Hospitality Kitchen at Mill Lane, Carlow is a fully-fledged restaurant that is now in higher demand than ever and is currently serving up to 100 dinners a day.
It’s run entirely by volunteers and depends 100% on donations, but now the cost-of-living crisis is putting pressure on resources, just as the service is needed more than ever.
“Demand for our service is at an all-time high and we are once again appealing to the good people of Carlow and beyond to help us keep the lights on and food on the table,” stressed Nora Meany, PRO for the organisation.
Before the pandemic, the volunteers used to feed about 40 people a day, but now, with families under increasing pressure financially, that figure has jumped to around 100 people. Things are so tight for some families that there was another increase in figures during the mid-term break as parents brought their children to St Clare’s Hospitality Kitchen, where they were guaranteed a good, hot meal.
The increased demand for services, coupled with the kitchen’s own massive energy and food bills, has forced the committee to once again appeal to the public for help. In 2019, it cost €100,000 to run the service; now the kitchen faces a bill far exceeding that figure at around €160,000.
“We’re struggling at every juncture. We need hard cash, fresh food and volunteers to help us,” continued Nora. “We would be most grateful to any clubs or organisations for any fundraising events. We would be most happy to come on board to help them.”
They are also looking for local businesses to sponsor the kitchen for a day or a week, or even hire out the services of the restaurant and their staff for an event such as afternoon tea or a special meal.
Non-perishable items are also required on weekly basis and can be brought to the parish centre in Graiguecullen.
The kitchen is open to the public for weekday lunches, where there is donation box so people can give however much or little as they can.
“It’s amazing how much our costs have gone up, so we really need people’s help now,” said Nora.
To donate, bank details for St Clare’s Hospitality Food Kitchen Ltd are BIC BOFIIE2D and IBAN IE65 BOFI 9065 3169 3735 69.