Free food parcels for the needy
by Linda McGrory
PARCELS including food, coats, shoes and shampoo
will be distributed to Ireland's most needy families
this winter under a new anti-poverty strategy, it's
The European Fund for Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD)
has tasked charities with the distribution of food
and essential non-food items to people suffering
It replaces a long-running scheme which saw EU
intervention stocks of cheese and butter distributed
to the poor.
FEAD ultimately wants to eradicate social exclusion
by equipping people with the nourishment and basic
supports necessary to apply for jobs or training.
Charities will also have to provide measures such as
counselling or personal development sessions to help
service users reintegrate back into society.
Some 3.5m in food and non-food aid including school
items will be distributed under this years
Target groups will include children in low-income
homes; the homeless and rough sleepers; some
Traveller and Roma families; recovering addicts;
people in domestic abuse shelters and vulnerable
Simply being a welfare recipient will not be
sufficient to meet the criteria for aid packages,
according to the Department of Social Protection,
which is overseeing the scheme.
"The programme is targeted at people with limited
income and those without access to income or living
in poor circumstances, said a Department
A number of key organisations will be enabled to
purchase food and essential non-food items for
onward distribution to organisations that have
applied and been authorised to receive stocks.
"The programme is now operational and the Department
is working with a number of leading charities and
voluntary organisations on the practical
arrangements for the immediate roll-out of the first
tranche of support, she added.
Organisations taking part in the scheme will include
leading anti-poverty charities; homeless shelters;
soup kitchens; meals-on-wheels groups; asylum seeker
centres and domestic abuse refuges.
European Fund for Aid to the Most
Under the guidelines, a
single person may receive a weekly food pack
including 750g cereal, a standard loaf of bread,
400g of butter, 400g cheese, 300g biscuits, 40 tea
bags, a small jar of coffee, 500g sugar, three cans
of beans or vegetables, three or four pieces of
fruit and two litres of milk.
The scheme also allows for the direct provision of
hot meals to recipients.
Hygiene products including shampoo, shower gel and
toothpaste as well as shoes, clothes and sleeping
bags may also be made available.
A total of almost 27m will be distributed in
Ireland over the next six years under the 3.8
billion programme as Europe tries to meet poverty
reduction targets by 2020.
About 30 Irish organisations including charities
with nationwide branches have so far applied to take
part in the scheme. Applications will be received
until the deadline on November 30, 2015. See