At HSSCU, we are passionate about helping our members and our community. While we provide the best service to members, we’re aware that there is a lot more happening in our community. With that in mind, HSSCU is proud to support our members by sponsoring our community. We sponsor charities requested by members, charities who contact us directly and charities we identify that are doing great work. This year, some of our key sponsorship partners have written testimonials on their experience with HSSCU’s sponsorships. Here, they tell us about the amazing work they do and how HSSCU has helped along the way. We are delighted to show our support to the fantastic Liberties charity, Little Flower Penny Dinners.
Little Flower Penny Dinners – Ruth Harkness
Hi Ruth, tell us about your charity.
The Little Flower Penny Dinners was established in 1912 to feed those in need in The Liberties and surrounding areas of Dublin. Sadly, food poverty is still very much part of modern society and the demand for our services is even greater now than in any of the over one hundred years we have been in existence.
Normally, we provide a breakfast and lunch service in our building at 11 Meath Street, Dublin 8 and run a ‘Meals on Wheels’ service 365 days per year. In addition, we run a laundry service for the homeless and many community groups use the facilities for meetings, etc.
Due to Covid-19 we had to make the very difficult decision to close our building to the public on 15th March 2020.
During the pandemic, demand for our ‘Meals on Wheels’ service has increased by 66%. In addition to ‘Meals on Wheels’, we provide a take away lunch service from our premises Monday to Friday.
How did your charity start-up?
The Little Flower Penny Dinners was established in 1912. It was set up by the parish and local community in response to the high levels of poverty in the area. It was important to provide food for those in need. The charity was named in honour of our patron St Thèrese of Lisieux, widely known as the ‘Little Flower’. We started with donations from local parishioners of one penny per week. Hence the full name the ‘Little Flower Penny Dinners’.
How did you get involved in Little Flower Penny Dinners?
I moved to the area 10 years ago. The Little Flower is such a big part of the community that I heard about it very soon after that. Over the years, I attended community meetings in the building. Early in 2019, the General Manager position was advertised and I just felt compelled to apply for it. We face a lot of challenges, but it is the most rewarding position I have ever held. There is a constant struggle to raise funds and secure donations. In addition, 2020 has been a year like no other because of Covid-19.
What makes me so passionate about The Little Flower is the contribution we make to people’s lives. It is not just the food, it is the human contact. During the pandemic, our ‘Meals on Wheels’ delivery team may often be the only human contact our clients have. We provide a lifeline for some of the most vulnerable in society in very frightening and uncertain times.
Who does your charity help?
We work on the principle that we never turn anyone away and we never ask any questions. Those we help are mainly the most vulnerable in society. They may be homeless; elderly; living alone; have a disability; have mobility issues; suffer from mental health issues; have underlying health issues; or have issues with substance abuse.
What did HSSCU’s sponsorship go towards and how did it help?
HSSCU very generously donated €1,000 to The Little Flower as part of their continued programme to support the community. We received the sponsorship in some of the darkest days of Covid. Our ability to fundraise had been severely impacted by the pandemic. One of our ‘Meals on Wheels’ delivery vans had to be written off. Along with this, demand for our services was going through the roof. We were under a lot of pressure and HSSCU sponsorship made a huge difference.
We used the €1000.00 towards replacing the van we had to write off. This has enabled us to continue to meet the increasing demand for ‘Meals on Wheels’. Thank you HSSCU.
Have you any example from your charity you would like to share?
The Little Flower Penny Dinners is all about the people we serve, and there are so many people and so many stories. One recent example dates back to June 2020:
I received a call from a very emotional lady who had seen her sister for the first time in over 3 months, due to lockdown. Her sister was a very fit woman in her 70’s who didn’t even have a doctor because she was so healthy. She was so fit and independent she was not known by any support networks. During lockdown her weight had plummeted from 10 stone to 6.5 stone. When her sister saw her in June she was extremely concerned about her health. It turned out that although her sister was able to look after herself in most ways she had stopped cooking some years back. During lockdown and self-isolation, she stopped her trips outside for lunch every day and barely ate. We added the lady to our ‘Meals on Wheels’ service and made a delivery to her that same day.
We have kept in touch with both sisters and continue to deliver ‘Meals on Wheels’ to her. Apart from a brief stay in hospital in July, the lady’s health has improved and her weight has started to increase again. Both sisters are delighted with the service we provide. And, we are delighted to be able to make a difference to so many people.
Would You Like to Apply?
To apply for a HSSCU sponsorship, simply visit our sponsorship webpage and download our application form. We are very excited to continue our commitment of supporting our community.