Limerick’s charities are working hard over the Christmas season to provide services for those in need. Christmas is traditionally a time for giving and charities are hoping that the festive spirit will inspire people to help the less fortunate.
Limerick Life is one local business that has been working with good causes. Mark O’Sullivan, Owner / manager of iQuTech and co-founder of Limerick Life newspaper, partnered with Cork-based organisation Smile Resource Exchange and Limerick’s Novas, a homelessness charity, to provide much-needed furniture for formerly homeless people.
Smile works with businesses to re-use resources. When one business no longer needs a resource, Smile helps that business give the resource to another organisation, free of charge. This year, the Woodlands House Hotel in Adare wanted to dispose of furniture. O’Sullivan saw an opportunity to help and contacted Novas. This partnership means that many Limerick families will now have high quality furniture in their new homes.
Novas’ work over the holiday season doesn’t end there, however. Una Burns, Head of Policy and Communications at Novas, is keen to stress that fighting homeless isn’t just for Christmas.
“All our services will run right throughout Christmas,” Burns told Limerick Life. “Our TEP [Temporary Emergency Provision] service will operate 24/7 during Christmas day, rather than the usual 9am to 9pm. Our family service, out-of-hours service and street outreach will also be operating for anyone that needs them throughout the Christmas period.”
“We have a toy appeal for our family service, which supported more than 700 children and teenagers last year. We hope it will be even bigger this year as we are supporting more and more families in poverty. People can get involved by emailing email@example.com and all gifts can be dropped to our Intensive Family Support Service on 1 Mungret Street.”
On Friday, 15 December, Novas is holding its annual sleep out outside Brown Thomas from 7pm. This year the event is sponsored by Specsavers. Sleep outs are becoming a common way to highlight the issue of homelessness in Limerick. Both Mid West Simon and the Redemptorist Church held sleep out events.
On Saturday, 16 December the Gaelic Voices for Change sleep out will take place. Novas and Thomond House will benefit from this event. Earlier this week, the charity made an appeal for toiletries – simple items that can make a big difference in the lives of those in need.
Novas has also launched a video detailing the experiences of Joe McGarry, who was homeless for almost two decades on the streets of London. McGarry founded Novas in 2002. The video is available to watch at novas.ie.
“The concept of being treated as a human being, with dignity and respect, runs throughout the short musings and is a reminder to us all of the importance of kindness towards those most vulnerable in our society this Christmas,” Burns said.