County Limerick couple cook up charitable spirit

Gerard Fitzgibbon

Reporter:

Gerard Fitzgibbon

WHEN it comes to helping some of the most impoverished people in Africa, one County Limerick couple have found that a little sugar goes a long way.

WHEN it comes to helping some of the most impoverished people in Africa, one County Limerick couple have found that a little sugar goes a long way.

This Sunday Tony and Bernadette Hackett from Ballyshonick in Kilcornan are throwing open the doors of their home for a fund raising bake sale, the proceeds from which will go towards food hampers for families in an impoverished South African township.

The couple have held small fund raisers at their local community centre for the past few years, but this time they’ve decided to add an extra personal touch by hosting people in their back garden.

“It’s not a very big garden, but it’ll do”, said Bernadette. “We’re just going to have a simple cake sake, with maybe a few teas and coffees too. It won’t be anything too fancy – we’ve a little marquee ready as well. Though where we’re going to park everyone, I have no idea”.

For Tony and Bernadette, helping the less fortunate on the other side of the world has simply become a habit. Each year for the past 17 years, the couple have spent several months living and working with the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP) in South Africa.

During that time, they have seen first hand how despondent extreme poverty can make people, but also how far the smallest bit of help can go.

Bernadette said that it all started with her aunt, Sr Kennedy of the Salesian Order, with whom she worked on missionary projects.

“I went over with her to begin with. We’ve pretty much been to-ing and fro-ing for the past 17 years. Tony and I decided to get a little place over there, and we pretty much split the year 50/50 between here and there.

“We’re back home now for the summer, but we’ll be going back over soon.

“You can see for yourself how bad things are. But we do Christmas hampers every year; they make such a difference. €10 can feed a family of about four or six for a week”.

This Sunday from 2.30pm the proceeds from every cupcake, apple pie and brownie sold at the Hackett’s home will go towards hampers for some of the 30,000 people living in poverty in the Zwelihle township in Western South Africa.

The work that SVP do in Zwelihle and other similar projects in Sub-Saharan Africa forms part of its ‘twinning’ programme, through which SVP bodies across the world link up to help tackle poverty in less fortunate countries, react quickly to disasters and famines, and initiate long term development work.