The appeal was issued this week
Ken Smollen from the Ken Smollen Food Appeal has issued an urgent appeal for food within the county. "Due to a huge increase in the amount of people in Offaly contacting me to say that they and their families are in need of food, I am appealing to the people of Offaly for donations," he said.
Ken is looking for donations of all non-perishable food items such as: breakfast cereal, tinned fruit, tinned rice, tins of beans, peas, packets of soup, pasta and pasta sauce, packets of rice, biscuits, jam, custard, coffee, tea, sugar and toiletries.
Donations of these items can be made in many locations throughout Offaly, and a full list can be sought on Ken Smollen's Facebook page, but in Tullamore, donations can be left into The Bakehouse Cafe & Restaurant in O'Connor Square or Cash N'Carry Direct, Cloncollig.
"We also have a Food Appeal collection in the Bridge Shopping Centre this week on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and we'll be outside Dunnes Stores," Ken explained. He went on to reveal the worrying news that "on average I'm getting one new family per day in Offaly contacting me to say that they need help with food." However, on Monday, five new families contacted me, and I called to a total of 10 families yesterday, eight of them in Tullamore and two in the South Offaly area."
"I didn't finish until after midnight as many families have asked if I'll call very late or very early in the morning as most are embarrassed about their situation. The people and the businesses have been unbelievably generous. I've had help from two local branches of the Lions Club and also from the SVP. We even received help from 'You're Not Alone,' the Dublin Homelessness group," Ken continued.
Ken is also putting out and appeal to any businesses who may have a small store room in the Tullamore area who might be willing to allow volunteers to store, sort and pack the items of non-perishable food that they collect. "We now have a very good team of volunteers in the Edenderry area who are also helping. I know that we're only tipping the iceberg here and have helped around 80 families in Offaly and about 15 families in Laois, Westmeath and Galway so far. However, I have no doubt that there are many hundreds of families in Offaly alone who need help with food and heating as many of the houses I call to have gone without heating for most of the winter months," Smollen revealed.
"I want to thank people in advance for their generosity," he concluded.
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