The Chair of the Council for Finance and General Purposes of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Bishop Dermot Farrell, today acknowledged the significant donation of The Albert Gubay Charitable Foundation to charities providing food and basic necessities to marginalised communities since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic: “On behalf of the Bishops’ Conference, I wish to express our deep gratitude and indebtedness to The Albert Gubay Charitable Foundation for its magnanimous donation of €500,000 to Irish charities providing vital services
Each of the charities explains how the Foundation`s donation is practically benefiting people:
According to Conor Hickey, the chief executive of the Dublin-based diocesan charity Crosscare, “The current pandemic brought with it a huge surge in demand from people who were already struggling but now found themselves in desperate circumstances. The donation from the Gubay Foundation has allowed Crosscare to establish an emergency food provision centre in north Dublin where we were able to distribute thousands of food parcels to those most in need and to provide crisis support for particularly vulnerable people.”
In the Archdiocese of Armagh the grants enabled three charities to meet the increased and changing needs of the people that they serve. Father Mark O`Hagan of Saint Patrick`s Soup Kitchen/Food Parcels in Dundalk, Co Louth, said, “Sincere thanks to the Albert Gubay Charitable Foundation for its financial help. The Albert Gubay Charitable Foundation has secured the future of the soup kitchen/food parcels which today, more than ever, meets a growing need within our community.” According to Rev Dermot Clarke, Deacon of the parish of Haggardstown and Blackrock in Co Louth, “Because of the support of the Albert Gubay Charitable Foundation, families have been supported to purchase food using food vouchers in local stores. Families have also been assisted with paying their utility bills. The parish has worked closely with Saint Vincent De Paul on this project. Without the donation from the Albert Gubay Foundation it would not have been possible to provide this support.”
Based in Dublin`s south inner city Ruth Harkness of The Little Flower Penny Dinners said, “Our mission is to feed the needy. The Albert Gubay Charitable Foundation grant enabled us to continue to bring food to those living on the margins. In most cases our charity provided the only human contact that clients experienced during the pandemic as they were required to self-isolate or cocoon and so were particularly vulnerable. The grant has been invaluable to us.
Kieran Stafford, national president of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul , said: “This generous grant from the Albert Gubay Charitable Foundation is extremely important and very welcome to allow us tackle food poverty which is an everyday reality for one-in-ten Irish households.”
The Irish Council for Prisoners Overseas (ICPO) is a charitable organisation established by the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference in 1985, which works on behalf of Irish prisoners overseas to provide information and support to these prisoners and their families. In welcoming the donation from the Albert Gubay Charitable Foundation towards the hardship fund for Irish prisoners in England and Wales Bishop Denis Brennan, Chair of the ICPO said, “The service of the ICPO is a core example of the social justice outreach of the Church. Prisoner families at home suffer great emotional and financial hardship. Thank you to the Albert Gubay Charitable Foundation for your kindness and generosity which will improve the quality of life for those on the margins who have nobody to turn to.”
Bishop Farrell concluded, “The Albert Gubay Charitable Foundation`s very generous donation of €500,000 has been especially helpful at this time as we face the fastest and deepest contraction in our economic history. The charity sector has been particularly vulnerable in this context.
“As Christians we are called to strive to be more than just charitable. We are also obliged to build a more just and equitable world, a common home, a place of welcome and dignity for all. We cannot be indifferent to the poor, those who do not have enough to eat. Day in day out, the Christian, like Jesus, must firmly be on the side of the voiceless and oppressed. In this regard Albert Gubay led by example. He had already lived out the prophetic words Pope Francis addressed to the Capuchin friars in Dublin during his visit to Ireland in 2018:
`You are especially attuned with the people of God, and indeed, with the poor. You have the grace of contemplating the wounds of Jesus in those in need, those who suffer, those who are unfortunate or destitute…This is your witness and the Church needs it.`
Notes for Editors
- Catholic philanthropist Albert Gubay, the founder of then-household names Kwik Save and Total Fitness, created the Albert Gubay Charitable Foundation in 2010. On 23 February 2011, Pope Benedict XVI bestowed on Mr Gubay the Knight Commander with Star of the Order of Saint Gregory the Great, for his philanthropic work over many years. This papal knighthood was presented to Mr Gubay by Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster. Mr Albert Gubay RIP died on 5 January 2016.
- The Albert Gubay Charitable Foundation Covid-19 Fund: The Albert Gubay Charitable Foundation made a donation of €500,000 to the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference for its distribution to Catholic charities in the Republic of Ireland which operate food banks and crisis funds for 6 month projects. Applications were approved for Crosscare (€360,000); Society of St Vincent de Paul (€70,000); Parishes in Dundalk and on the Cooley Peninsula (€50,000); Little Flower Penny Dinners (€10,400); and for the Irish Council for Prisoners Overseas (€9,600).
- Proposals from Catholic charities were reviewed by the specially formed grants panel of Ireland’s four Archbishops against set criteria including: projects must be implemented by a registered Catholic charity with evidence of need. Beneficiaries must be located in Republic of Ireland; England and/or Wales. Charities must demonstrate strict governance controls in audited accounts; insurance; safeguarding and in terms of health and safety policies. Projects must be administered by organisations with experience in the delivery of food and crisis funds which operate with the highest levels of accountability and transparency. Projects are required to represent value for money and should be strategic and able to demonstrate their long term impact.
- Those wishing to donate to the charities listed can contact Ceire Sadlier, Grants Officer, Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference at [email protected]
For media contact: Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long +353 (0) 86 172 7678