first_imgLinkedin Facebook Jackie Bonfield,Tracey Reddy and Audrey Irwin at the Mid West Simon food bank. Photo: Julien BehalA LIMERICK homeless charity is seeking donations to provide Ireland’s first social grocery store, offering food at reduced prices to a rising number of people experiencing food poverty.Mid West Simon Community has launched the funding call after the initiative was recommended in a study conducted by the Department of Sociology at the University of Limerick.The UL report found that, apart from providing affordable healthy food, a social grocery could also improve people’s mental health outcomes by removing stigma and shame associated with people being forced to queue on the streets at food banks or soup kitchens.Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up The charity already avails of the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD), providing four food banks in Limerick, Clare, and north Tipperary.Last year Simon Mid West supported 13,196 people who experienced “food poverty, which is defined as the inability to afford or access healthy food, and reflects a form of social exclusion and social injustice,” chief executive Jackie Bonfield explained.“Food poverty is on the rise, particularly in socially disadvantaged households who consume less nutritionally-balanced diets, and suffer from higher rates of diet-related chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and certain cancers at a younger age,” she added.The annual cost of running Simon’s four food banks, in Limerick, Ennis, Kilrush, and Nenagh is approximately €100,000.Demand continues to grow, with 400 more people in the region using Simon’s food banks in 2019 than in 2018.Food banks are also provided locally by Saint Vincent de Paul, the Redemptorist Church, and the NOVAS street outreach service.Simon’s Limerick food bank operates at Christ Church, Glentworth Street, every Friday from 10am to1pm, providing around 100 food parcels daily.In 2018, 4,261 people, including 2,130 children, availed of Simon’s Limerick food bank, while between January and March 2019, 3,518 people, including 1,756 children, used the bank.In a UL survey of 131 of Simon’s food bank clients, 80 per cent reported they had children while 32 per cent were shopping for five or more family members.Price was the most decisive factor influencing their food purchasing decisions.58 per cent of participants reported periodically experiencing lack of sufficient access to food, while 1.6 per cent reporting never having enough food.93.1 per cent said they would avail of a social grocery store.A male client, aged 52, who is a carer for his wife, said it was “embarrassing” having to attend a mobile soup kitchen service.“We don’t have access to enough food, we can’t afford to eat proper meals everyday,” he added.A young mother of one, who gave up her job to care for her husband after he was diagnosed with cancer, and who also attends the Simon food bank, said: “At times there’s very little, I try not to eat too much. I try my best to get more for my child and make sure my husband has all that he needs for his immune system, make sure he eats dinner and lunch. It’s the same thing with my child, she is growing so she has to eat properly.”In order to register with the food bank, an applicant has to meet with a member of Simon before they complete a short questionnaire, provide photo identification, proof of address and their income.A social grocery would empower those struggling by offering money management workshops, advice and information services, and cookery classes, encouraging individuals “to move towards self-sustainability and financial stability”, said Bonfield.Appealing for donations, she called on anyone who would like to be a part of this first Social Grocery in Ireland, to phone 061-608980, or email [email protected]”. Previous articleGo ahead for Mungret incineration planNext articleNew Adventures in Learning as Weeklong Festival kicks off on 24 May David Raleigh Email WhatsAppcenter_img Advertisement Print NewsMid West Simon set to establish Ireland’s first social grocery storeBy David Raleigh – May 20, 2021 311 Twitterlast_img

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