Fill a Bus initiative – Pictured above are Gearóid Quity, Fundraising & Communications Manager Midwest Simon, Marie King, Marketing & Sales Manager Bus Éireann, Catherine Barry, Services Delivery Manager Bus Eireann and Lar Hogan, Volunteer Mid West Simon. Picture: Olena Oleksienko/ilovelimerick
Bus Éireann embraced the season of giving bringing its ‘Fill a Bus’ initiative to Dunnes Stores, Childers Road to support Mid West Simon’s annual Christmas appeal
Mid West Simon Community and Bus Éireann have come together for this season of giving, bringing their ‘Fill a Bus’ initiative to Limerick aimed at supporting Midwest Simon’s annual Christmas appeal.
Joining together on Thursday, December 7, Mid West Simon Community and Bus Éireann held their annual event in a bid to help the vulnerable, homeless, and those at risk of homelessness in Limerick, Clare, and North Tipperary.
The group collected all of the Christmas favourites from selection boxes, crisps, sweets, chocolates, mince pies, tinned coffee, as well as 10 Euro vouchers to help those through what can be a demanding time.
Ireland’s national bus service reserved a bus at Dunnes Stores, Childer’s Road with hopes of filling it from top to bottom with donations from the public. Many of the staff of Bus Éireann in Colbert Station were some of the first of many to offer bags of donations to help the annual Christmas appeal.
Marie King, Marketing & Sales Manager Bus Éireann explained events such as the ‘Fill a Bus’ campaign were an opportunity for Bus Éireann to “give back something to our local community” saying the group are, “delighted to support Mid West Simon”.
She said, “We’re overwhelmed with the amount of people that have come out with their bags from Dunnes Stores here in Childer’s Road all morning, we are delighted.
“It’s going great and it’s just a nice fit for us as well, and an opportunity for us to give the people of Limerick a chance to help the people in Midwest Simon and it just works out great every year, and we’re delighted to work with Gearóid and Lar and all the volunteers again this year.”
Mid West Simon Community, established in October 2006, extends its services across Clare, Limerick, and North Tipperary, providing crucial support to individuals transitioning out of homelessness. Their foodbank, inaugurated in 2014, has witnessed an increased demand, especially since the onset of the pandemic, with approximately 9,000 people from the three counties benefiting from this facility in the current year.
Gearóid Quity, Fundraising & Communications Manager Midwest Simon who spoke to I Love Limerick explained how the event is “fantastic” for the group by targeting “food poverty as a whole”.
He said, “Today, we’re here collecting non-perishable food items, which we can then give out in our food banks. We operate food banks throughout Limerick, Clare and North Tipperary.”
He commented that 2023 has been “busier than ever” unfortunately for the group, saying, “We’ve given out over 50,000 food parcels between our food banks this year and we couldn’t do this work without the generosity of organisations such as Bus Éireann who’ve supported us with this appeal for the last three years now.”
The ‘Fill a Bus’ campaign is a collective effort that hopes to have everyone in the community experience the joy of Christmas despite the challenges they may have faced throughout the year, and the work of Mid West Simon does not stop there as since 2014, the group offered a foodbank service with food provided through the Support to the Most Deprived (SMD) Programme funded by the European Union and the Department of Social Protection.