THE DEMAND for services at Dublin’s Capuchin Day Centre, which provides hot meals, food parcels and medical facilities to Dublin’s homeless and poor, has never been higher.
So says Brother Kevin Crowley, the Capuchin friar who has been feeding Dublin’s poor and homeless for over 50 years.
The center’s dining room on Bow Street has been closed intermittently over the past two years as part of Covid restrictions. An annual charity cycle for the center has also been paused.
This morning the Cycle for Brother Kevin event returned in its full format, with 60 riders starting a two day 360km cycle ride in Brother Kevin’s hometown of Clonakilty in west Cork.
As the cost of basic necessities increases, Brother Kevin says the Capuchin Center is receiving more requests for help.
“Families are finding it very, very difficult,” he said. “The number of people coming in has increased. We have about 200 for breakfast every morning and between 500 and 600 for dinner.
“We’re giving out food parcels on a Wednesday and we’d have about 1,100 of them. On Mondays we distribute baby food and diapers.
“It has all increased and of course our main concern is that nobody goes hungry.”
Brother Kevin said the annual cycle is evidence that people care about those in need and want to help others.
“It’s fantastic how many people are back here. It’s the same people who have been doing it for years and they seem to take great pleasure in it.
“Not only that, they genuinely care about the homeless and those in need. They show great generosity by giving their time and cycling long distances which is absolutely fabulous.
“I believe in human generosity and people are amazing. Everything that comes in here goes straight to the homeless.
“During the lockdown we were giving out take away food and people were allowed to come in and eat their food in the church and that has worked out very well.
“I must say that those who used the church respected it with great dignity and always left it clean.”
On the first leg of the event, the 60 cyclists completed 149km to the Horse and Jockey Hotel, Co Tipperary, where they will eat and rest before beginning the final leg of the journey tomorrow morning.
The riders will be accompanied by escort vehicles and brother Kevin will be traveling with the escort crew as he does every year.
One of the main organizers of the event, Vincent Flynn, said a key function of the cycle is to publicize the work of Brother Kevin and the other volunteers at the center.
“A big part of that is spreading the word about what Brother Kevin is doing,” he said. “There is a large circle of people who are connected to it. It’s not just the 60 people cycling, it’s their families, it’s the people who are raising funds for them.
“People have events in the area that they organize, whether it’s table quizzes or spinathons and whatnot. So a large, broad community is aware of Brother Kevin’s work throughout the cycle.”
The Capuchin Center relies entirely on charitable donations and fundraising events to cover the €4 million cost of running the service this year.
The event was first organized by gardaí at Mountjoy station in 2013 and supported by the Irish Independent.
Donations from the public can be made online by following the instructions on cycleforbrokevin.org or capuchindaycentre.ie.
Donors can also contact Brother Kevin directly on 01 8720770.
https://www.independent.ie/news/cyclists-begin-360km-journey-to-raise-much-needed-funds-for-dublins-capuchin-day-centre-41647440.html Cyclists begin a 360km journey to raise much-needed funds for the Capuchin Day Center in Dublin