Charity hails Communion 'miracle'
AN IRISH charity admitted they have been "totally overwhelmed" by the incredible response to their appeal for Holy Communion dresses and suits.
Almost 200 families donated outfits to Cork Penny Dinners and they will now stage a special fashion show so the dresses and suits can be distributed to needy families.
Children at Ovens National School yesterday modelled some of the outfits in advance of Sunday's fashion show and 'pop up shop' sale in the River Lee Hotel.
The charity, which was founded in 1841, now feeds over 100 people every day.
Those they support range from the homeless to those who have lost everything in Ireland's economic collapse.
The charity admitted that demand for its services has soared over the past four years.
A significant number of families with young children now avail of the charity's services.
Cork Penny Dinners co-ordinator, Caitriona Twomey, said they were "totally overwhelmed" by the public response to their first children clothing appeal.
"This all started from one person offering us a Holy Communion dress in the belief that it might help some needy family with young children," she said.
"These dresses and suits are in mint condition. Some of them were literally only worn once."
Best of all, the children who will now benefit from the dresses and suits will never know where they came from - and will believe their parents sourced the outfit in a shop just like other children in their class.
The appeal was issued as Cork Penny Dinners admitted that many needy families feel particularly stressed over the financial demands imposed by such occasions such as Holy Communion and Confirmation.
A number of Cork businesses have also donated clothing and services to support the charity.
"This started from a simple idea arising from the kindness of one person. But it has captured the imagination and will make such a difference to so many families this year."
Cork Penny Dinners has also been offered the services of hairdresser for several weeks in May where special stylists will transform the children's hair for free to help further reduce the costs of Communion.