Week 15: Every night is Soup Run night for Dublin's Simon Community
Roger Rafferty tells Brenda McCormick the difference you make to the Simon Community
Dublin Simon Community was founded by a group of Trinity and UCD students in 1969, who began by providing much-needed soup and sandwiches to people who were sleeping rough in Dublin city centre.
In addition to the Soup Run, which still goes out 365 nights of the year, Dublin Simon Community provides many services which aim to help those who are sleeping rough on the streets, people who are in their own accommodation but at risk of homelessness and those who are at any of the stages in between.
The Soup Run goes out every night of the year and is often the first point of contact for people who want to link into our range of services. It consists of over 100 part-time volunteers who walk the streets in all weather, offering soup, sandwiches, tea and a good chat if so desired, to people who are homeless around the city.
In conjunction with the Rough Sleeper Team, the Soup Run volunteers conduct street searches for people sleeping rough, maintain contact with them and try to help them form links back into the community.
What motivated me to become a volunteer initially was after 30 years of being "on call" in my job, I changed to working nine to five. I found myself having free time for the first time and I always wanted to do something, to give back. After 10 years or so of volunteering with the Soup Run, the thing that makes me want to stay is the service that we give to people on the streets. Dublin Simon Community Soup runners can offer more than just a cup of tea and a sandwich.
We try and link people with our Rough Sleeper Team and our Mobile Health Clinic. We also offer compassion to people regardless of their situation, and accept them for what they are; people just like us who are going through a crisis in their lives.
A thoughtful donation of whatever you can afford will make a vital difference to people accessing Dublin Simon Community's services. Just €10 could go towards providing a warm bed for the night, €25 could help provide our Rough Sleeper Team with an emergency pack for someone who might be sleeping rough.
A sum of €100 could help Simon provide a Home Starter Pack to support someone who is moving on from homelessness and setting up their new home. Dublin Simon Community is continuously grateful for the generosity of Simon supporters.
We would like to invite all mothers, sisters, daughters, friends and colleagues to dust off those trainers and raise funds for Dublin Simon Community by walking, jogging or running in the Vhi Women's Mini Marathon on June 1.
It will mean so much to those who have faced the heartache and terror of being without a home to know that you are standing by their side as they move to a brighter future.
For more information, go to www.dubsimon.ie