A community based meals on wheels operation in North Kilkenny, Moneenroe Community Council is seeking clarity from the Department of Social Protection as to the future funding of their operation - needed now more than ever with the coronavirus pandemic as the elderly in particular cocoon.
Based in Moneenroe, almost 100 meals are delivered daily during the week to homes from Ballyouskill to Ballyfoyle and everywhere in between.
Pictured above is Donal O’Neill, with his complementary copies of the Kilkenny People which are being delivered with Meals on Wheels in Kilkenny areas, including the city. Above is the Moneenroe comm team - including Derek Lynch, Mary Hoey, Sheila Brennan, Pamela O’Neill, Cathal O’Dowd, Kathryn Burke, Martin Buggy, Donal O’Neill and Cllr Pat Fitzpatrick
As our community comes to terms with the pandemic, this service has not just been a lifeline to so many, it has also been a great symbol of community resilience and pride in the Moneenroe and Clogh areas.
It’s had its knocks in recent times - a van was put off the road in an accident late last year - and the local community funded a replacement to keep their fleet of two on the road. Then the lockdown hit, but still the vans kept on delivering their meals to the people who needed them the most.
Heart of community
As Donal O’Neill explained, the heart of the community is in this project and, despite rising costs to the scheme, they have maintained their expenses at the same level for the last 10 years.
Donal is heartened by the response of many - like Avalon Hotel chef Cathal O’Dowd who is volunteering his time to prepare the meals during the lockdown while his Castlecomer-based job is on hold.
With the recent closure of a meals service in Clogh, plans are in hand to develop the Moneenroe service to provide meals at the centre for those who want to call.
But the scheme needs a certain future, and while the organisers say the HSE has provided tremendous support, they need clear funding and guidance from the Department of Social Protection in terms of funding and the appointment of key personnel like assistant supervisors.
“We need the political will here to ensure there is no further concerns for this vital service for the community - which stretches right throughout North Kilkenny and into our neighbours in Laois and Carlow,” said Cllr Pat Fitzpatrick.
The Kilkenny People newspaper has donated free copies to Meals on Wheels in the city and North Kilkenny areas.