Brother Kevin Crowley of the Capuchin Centre for Homeless people thanked the communities of Creeslough, Dunfanaghy, and the surrounding areas, for their 'great generosity' during Sunday Mass, today.
The people of the area gathered clothes, nappies, baby food and vital items which were sent by the van load to the Capuchin Centre in Dublin around Christmas time. Raffles were also held to raise money. The people of the area have, to date, raised over €10,000 for those who find themselves homeless.
The well-known Brother told those gathered that when the centre initially opened in 1969, for the purpose of helping those leaving hostels, around 50 people attended the centre between the hours of 6.30am and 7am.
This figure has dramatically increased to between 400 and 500 people visiting the centre in 2020.
He said that the number of those being given food-passes has increased from 400 to around 1,700.
He said that the centre helps more than people who are homeless. It helps many people who have lost their homes and find themselves at their lowest ebb.
He said that it was 'unbelievable' what the people of the area donated to the centre at Christmas time adding that those at the centre will never forget the generosity of those Donegal people who helped them.
Brother Kevin said that more mothers and babies are calling to the centre in need of help: "We have around 300 mothers with babies who call to the centre. In 2020, to see so many in poverty is appalling. The government, to me, is a disaster in regards the people who are in dire need."
The Dublin-based Brother said that those who call to the centre are never questioned about their circumstances but are rather dealt with in the dignity and respect that they deserve.
In 1969, the problem was drink and in 2020, the problem most people suffer from is drug addiction, he said.
The centre offers more than food to those who call to use their vital services. People can avail of dentists, doctors, nurses and chiropodists, for free.
"So, I came here to say thanks, in a big way, to the people who are so generous - pray for us who work at the centre," he invited those gathered in St Michael's Chapel.
He said that sadly so many people have lost their lives on the street.
As Brother Kevin finished his words of thanks - the chapel erupted into applause.
Father John Joe Duffy urged all those present to pray for Brother Kevin and those who work at the centre.
He alluded to the immense enthusiasm and energy exercised by Brother Kevin.
Fr Duffy said Brother Kevin carries out 'excellent work.'
"He brings hope to those who are in very hopeless situations. You by your work have enabled us to help those in need," Fr Duffy said.
He described Brother Kevin as being humble, a man of God, who seeks no awards or recognition for his work.
"Brother Kevin you are a man rooted in the ordinary but you are a man of God's world," he said.
A wonderful event was held in the local centre following Mass. People were served refreshments and Brother Kevin met many of those who were eager to meet him.
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