Community project helps to keep food on Liberties tables

WHETHER it’s a meal delivery, medical guidance, or just a chat, the Robert Emmet Community Development Project (RECDP) is on Dublin 8’s frontline in aiding those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Started in 2003, the RECDP has offered afterschool programmes, elderly assistance and hosting of community events and talks. Since the start of the lockdown, it has partnered with organisations such as Slunchbox, Tasty 8, Food Cloud, and the Dublin City Community Co-op to prepare and delivery comprehensive meals and food supplies for at-risk Dublin 8 residents.

This could mean elderly people who for health reasons may not be able to leave the house, families who face financial difficulty – practically anyone in the community that needs help putting food on the table.

Volunteers have been preparing and delivering over 260 meals per week, gaining new volunteer staff, and aim to keep this service going for as long as the pandemic continues.

“Covid-19 is a tragedy that allows us to re-evaluate what is important in our own lives,” a RECDP spokesperson told The Liberty.

“Facing an indiscriminate, invisible challenge like this has made it necessary for people to work together and help one another. Going forward, this creates a real opportunity to build a new understanding of community and the part we as individuals play in that.”

Sticking to the letter of the 2km lockdown, the whole team at RECDP is made up of Liberties-local volunteers – and they are still open to more local volunteers as the demand grows. The RECDP phone line is open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, where the public can enquire about assistance and volunteering – or just find a friendly chat in these trying times.

The team also offer food parcel collection Monday to Friday 1pm to 3pm for those who are in need and offer and entirely confidential service free of charge. All the team ask for is a day’s notice, to ensure their stock meets demand.

The RECDP recently launched a fundraiser with ‘Buy Me A Coffee’, in which people may donate ‘coffees’ to the program in €5 amounts to aid in covering the costs involved with the food parcel preparation and delivery. Buy Me A Coffee has waved its processing fees for the month of April to help people during the lockdown.

A statement from the team to the Liberty said: “The main thing that people can do now is stay at home to prevent the spread of Covid-19. But in the medium to longer term it’s the little things that matter – helping neighbours (and at the very least knowing their names!), being involved in a residents association, shopping locally and volunteering with a local charity.

“Economic hardship will follow the Covid-19 pandemic and it is only together, as a community, that we can survive this and similar challenges.”