Christmas appeal for homeless

Dundalk Simon Community have asked people to support those less fortunate this Christmas in any way that they can as they prepare for their busiest time of the year.
Pamela O’Hare from the Simon Community in Dundalk said that although their services are busy all year around December in particular sees an increase in the number of cases they tend to.
“We have thirty beds in our hostel and they are pretty much full all year around. You may get an odd weekend where there might be a spare bed or two but in general we are full up every night. This month in particular is very busy as the days are getting colder and we try to ensure that those availing of our services can have the best Christmas possible. We have so many great supporters for the Simon all year around but donations are always welcome to help those less fortunate who come to us for help,” stated Pamela.
“Thankfully we do not have too many people sleeping on the streets but there are a number of people who depend on us for support and we in turn depend on the generosity of the public to help these people. If anybody would like to help they can call us here in Dundalk Simon Community on 0429339583.
Pamela was speaking in the aftermath of the Simon’s biggest fundraiser of the year which took place last weekend in Market Square. The seventh annual ‘Sleepout for Simon’ took place in the town centre last Friday night as hardy volunteers braved the cold December evening to raise some much needed funds for the Simon Community in Dundalk.
The annual event which sees volunteers sleeping rough at Market Square has been a huge success since its inception in 2013 and has thus far raised over €50,000 for the Simon. It has become the biggest fundraiser in the Simon Community’s calendar and is getting bigger each year.
Maeve Curtis who started the initiative with her husband Terry seven years ago was delighted with the response from the local community and thanked everybody who came to give them words of encouragement on Friday evening.
“We went out about 8pm on Friday evening and thankfully the weather wasn’t too bad,” noted Maeve. “The Saturday night was horrendous so we were actually lucky with the weather all in all.
“Once again we were overwhelmed with the generosity of everybody in town on Friday evening and we want to thank every single person who supported us on the evening. As well as our group we had representatives from SalesSense, Irish Life, Dundalk Credit Union, Department of Nursing, Midwifery and Early Years from DkIT as well as the Psychiatric Nurses from the college who all slept out on the night for the Simon.
“There are more and more people sleeping out each year and it’s great to see the local community get involved and help out the Simon who do such great work to combat homelessness. We slept out from 8pm on Friday evening until 8am on Saturday morning and we would like to thank Tony’s Pizzeria for sending food over to us as they do each year and also an anonymous young man who bought us ten bags of chips which were very much appreciated. We had so many people help us with the fundraising including AIB, Marshes Shopping Centre, Colaiste Ris and representatives from Louth Volunteers and we’d like to also thank each and every one of them,” stated Maeve.
“This was only one night of hardship for us but it is nothing compared to what the homeless people in Dundalk have to do all through the year. The theme this year was ‘Nevermind your twelve pubs. Dundalk Simon Sleep out’ and the whole idea is to make the issue of homelessness visible and bring awareness to the fact that people are suffering. We want to give these people hope and if you can spread hope it acts like a ripple in a pond and begins to spread,” added Maeve.
Meanwhile Pamela O’Hare from the Simon community praised Maeve and Terry and all who took part in ‘Sleep out for Simon’ last Friday evening.
“Maeve and Terry have been the driving force for this initiative since it started seven years ago and we are hugely grateful for all the hard work they put in each year. This is our biggest fundraiser of the year and hugely important for us with regards to the services we provide. I would like to thank every single person who took part or donated in the Dundalk Simon Sleep Out and we thank everybody for their continuing support,” stated Pamela.

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