Students and staff from National Learning Network Ballyfermot have launched an inspiring food collection to support homeless families, and families in need, in the locality this Christmas. The hugely successful initiative has further enhanced the atmosphere of generosity throughout the centre, as people have come together to donate whatever they can afford to support the project. The students of the I.T. training course at National Learning Network (NLN) Ballyfermot devised the idea of encouraging donations of food items which will be transported to ‘Liberty Soup Run’, a highly regarded local charity that has supported homeless people in the Dublin region for many years.
The group has already gathered hundreds of euro worth of food items, including rice, pasta, canned goods, cereals, biscuits, chocolate, tea and coffee. The I.T. students are calling on people to drop in non-perishable, dry food items to NLN Ballyfermot, based on the Kylemore Road, by the beginning of December, or to donate directly to ‘Liberty Soup Run’.
Dorota Kubiczek, the instructor of the NLN Ballyfermot I.T. course, spoke recently about the fundraiser, saying that it is “a beautiful and inspiring action”. Dorota said that an I.T. student on her course had previously been homeless, and had experienced first-hand the impact of charities such as Liberty Soup Run. The student created the initiative as he felt motivated to pay back to the community that had been there for him in the past. Dorota says that the student is now “doing really great and is being supported by National Learning Network to re-skill and to set up a new life”.
Speaking about the specific charity they chose to support, the group of students explained that Liberty Soup Run “do a lot of work on the ground in Dublin”. They spoke about how their initiative is aimed at breaking down the stigma of homelessness. They said: “It’s more than just giving people something to eat; Liberty Soup Run are there to talk to people, to share experiences, and let people know that someone is looking out for them. They help people to interact with other support services out there in the community. It’s a kind face, it’s not just about the food. That’s what makes the difference.”
The initiative has brought people together from across National Learning Network, RehabCare, and Rehab Enterprises, all based in the centre on Kylemore Road. The students are encouraging anyone who can, to get involved and be part of this very worthwhile project. “Even if someone can bring in a can of beans. A little thing, a small action, grows into a big thing. There are a lot of people out there that are finding things so difficult. This food drive means that somebody gets to eat over Christmas. It’s not a fairy-tale ending for anybody, but it’s a kind gesture. It gives people a break, and the knowledge that there is food there for their children. We want to make sure that people have more hope for the future”.
The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Daithí de Róiste, visited the Ballyfermot centre recently, meeting students and staff of NLN, and members and staff of RehabCare, and Rehab Enterprises. The Lord Mayor saw first-hand the ever-growing collection of food and commended the NLN Ballyfermot team for their initiative. National Learning Network is Ireland’s leading provider of supported education. NLN Ballyfermot offers certified training courses for people aged 16 to adults of all ages, giving students flexibility to harness their strengths in an accessible, friendly and inclusive environment. The popular I.T. course can connect people to employment by developing practical digital and computer skills, and getting them back on to the job ladder.