Br Kevin Crowley was the founder of the Capuchin Day Centre in 1969. Here he recounts the increased demand for their services for the poor in recent years.
This Interview was recorded as part of our Christmas special on iCatholic. It consists of four 12 minute segments – available soon.
Message from Br Kevin
While the Capuchin Day Centre has journeyed with people in need since 1969 including the last recession of the 1980’s, nothing has prepared us for the level of demand for the service. Since the collapse of the Banks in 2008 our numbers have more than doubled. Latest figures show we provide 250 breakfasts each day with 400 extra on a Wednesday. Our dinner service has increased and is seldom less that 480 with a couple of days in the week exceeding 500. In keeping with our child protection policies, we have a designated family area where parents and their children can enjoy nutritious meals in safety.
The increase in child poverty is very evident here in the Day Centre with more parents needing to avail of the service. We also have a medical service, chiropody clinics, an optical service and advice and information clinics. We prioritise the needs of rough sleepers and the increased energy and water charges for the shower facilities together with the provision of new underwear, personal hygiene products etc. has all added to our expenses.
Despite trying to cope with the above, the greatest challenge both physically and financially is to help the increased number of people who need Food Parcels. Demand has risen with each new phase of unemployment and rose from about 3/400 a week in 2008 to around 1,000 in 2011 with further spikes to the current level of 1800 people who need help to feed their families in the current recession. We have not received an increase in our government funding since 2007 so we need your help more than ever.