South Kerry Development Partnership CLG Foodlink project was created in July 2020 after forming a partnership through Neighbourly to become the local charity associated with M&S to collect and distribute their surplus food to low incomes families we support locally in Killarney. Then in the wake of Covid- 19 links were formed with Foodcloud to expand the Foodlink Project. Foodcloud identified more shops where food could be collected daily. This allowed our Foodlink project to grow and expand beyond Killarney into Killorglin, Mid Kerry and Cahersiveen.
SKDP approached the Foodlink project as one solution to combating poverty by supporting SKDP’s clients to save money on food budgets enabling them to redirect those savings to other essential household items and into education & retraining opportunities.
The Covid-19 impact had continued to hit families hard, and once it became known SKDP had food to distribute, the number of families and vulnerable adults identified as struggling increased quickly and quite significantly. We had the experience of dealing with many of these people through our Tús initiative, which has supported over 700 long-term unemployed people to date. Families were referred by the SICAP programmer officers, Family Resource Centres, local community, St Vincent de Paul and HSE staff. South Kerry Foodlink was established because we believed we had an obligation to put in place a strategy to support as many families as we could who have been affected by food insecurity and combat its devastating effects.
Drawing from the ever-resourceful manpower of SKDP’s Tús & RSS schemes, supports from both schemes' supervisors, and participants were activated in the form of
· Food collections nightly from M&S Killarney as well as daily collections from Aldi and Lidl to our food base in Ballydribbeen Community House Killarney
· Completing food handling training courses.
· Purchase fridges and fridge freezers
· Making an application for grant aid for more storage to expand the project.
· Daily bagging and distributing to registered families affected by food poverty
· Maintaining food hygiene standards at all times.
· Attending weekly meetings to agree on the logistics and agree on project development
SKDP’s long-standing reputation for working on the ground with and for communities in South Kerry through partnership and working together with a number of local organisations and charities is key to the development of the South Kerry Foodlink project. The project follows the principles of bottom-up, collaboration and subsidiarity at all times. The Community Development working group of the partnership guides the development of the project.
Since then, the project has grown significantly, with 62 registered families now availing of a weekly food bag. These 62 families include 83 children in total who now benefit from this food. The faces of these children light up on the day the bag is delivered to the homes. All bags are delivered to the homes by SKDP staff, who adhere to the company directives on respect and confidentiality.
South Kerry Development Partnership CLG is a community-led local development company which works to promote and assist the development of sustainable, vibrant communities in South Kerry. Being a not-for-profit organisation, in addition to relying heavily on TUS/RSS schemes, three volunteers have been secured to support this project with nightly food donation collections and delivery and handling of these food donations to the Killarney based in the Ballydribeen Community House.
Each volunteer underwent Garda Vetting and Food Handling and Hygiene training in early January and has now become a valued volunteer member of this project.
St Vincent de Paul in Cahersiveen provided €1,000 funding to purchase two deep freezers which store the food that is collected from the newly opened Aldi Store in the town. The local community centre provided that location for the food storage in Cahersiveen free of charge.
In Killorglin Laune, the Rangers GAA club provides the location for food storage free of charge. Funding was obtained from the KCC community fund to purchase the fridge freezers in Killorglin.
Rural areas have been hit hard by the recent inflation pressure mainly due to the increased cost of energy and motor fuel which rural areas are very dependent on for transport. Like urban areas, food poverty is an issue for many families and individuals in rural South Kerry.
South Kerry Development Partnership CLGWest Main Street, Cahersiveen, Co Kerry.
Tel: 066 9472724