Hardy bunch brace the Limerick cold for annual sleep out to help the poor

Ryan O'Rourke

Reporter:

Ryan O'Rourke

Email:

ryan.orourke@limerickleader.ie

Hardy bunch brace the Limerick cold for annual sleep out to help the poor

Frances Murphy, teacher at St Clements College with pupils Beneli Plaento and Brandon Shine along with Fr Seamus Enright | PICTURE: Keith Wiseman

“THERE are people who have to do this every night,” said Fr Seamus Enright, referring to the Redemptorist annual SleepOut, which aims to raise funds for their Christmas Hamper Appeal.

The seven hardy individuals who spent the night in a tent on the corner of O’Connell Street and Thomas Street, had to face near freezing conditions and horrid rain.

“Even the cold during the day, just standing out in the streets, gave you a slight idea of what is like to be living out there. It was very tough for those who slept out for the night. The rain got into the tent meaning they couldn’t. It gave them an idea of what it is like to live like that, but only the slightest idea. There are people who have to do this every night,” said Fr Enright.

“It was bleak night, so it was tough for those who stayed out overnight. I wasn’t one of them, I was lucky and took the day shifts. There was a lot of good conversation and a lot of generosity from passers-by,” he added.

The money will go towards the Christmas Hamper Appeal, with the Redemptorists setting a massive goal of €200,000. “We have been so busy, we haven’t had the chance to count the money, and rain got into the buckets so we couldn’t use the counting machines. This means we don’t have a figure yet, but I am confident, the people were generous,” said Fr Enright.

Fr Enright hopes to distribute an amazing 6,000 hampers across the city and county, along with the help of Novas, Mid-West Simon Community, local groups and a host of discrete volunteers.

“We are hoping, working with Saint Vincent de Paul and 30 other organisations to distribute 6,000 hampers across the city and county. This will cost in the region of €200,000 so between now and Christmas we need to raise that €200,000,” said Fr Enright.

Last year Novas worked with more families than ever before, helping  274 families and 592 children, who were homeless or at risk of homelessness over the last 12 months.