ARKLOW community service The Loaves and Fishes Café is celebrating its first anniversary with a gala concert on Thursday October 15th. The Café provides a free home-cooked meal for anyone who wants it, no questions asked, between 4.30 and 6.30 every Tuesday evening at The Centre, 1A Wexford Road, near the Upper Main St roundabout.
Featuring a wealth of local performers, including the Revival Gospel Choir, Terry Cantwell, Small Town Crisis, The Vault Youth Centre, Bernard Fox and many more, the concert at 8pm on October 15th in the Arklow Bay Hotel is both a celebration and a fundraiser for the ongoing costs of running the meals. A particular need is for a commercial cooker to replace the overstretched domestic one they’ve been using up to now. The concert programme is suitable for all ages, with pieces from the Avonmore Musical Society, various dance and theatre schools, along with a preview of the St Mary’s College upcoming production of High School Musical.
Started in October 2014, Loaves and Fishes currently serves around 80 portions per week, for people sitting in or getting takeaways. The meal is totally provided by volunteers who peel veg, cook, bake, serve and clear up for those who come in. “People come for all kinds of reasons, because they haven’t got enough to get through the week, because they’re homeless, or simply for some company as their home is too quiet or they don’t have any other adults there,” said Robert Holden, leader of Bridge Christian Community, the local church who started and run the service. “We’ve seen friendships form and a real community spirit between people coming in and the number of people who volunteer each week. As one of our team says, we simply want to share the love of God on a plate, and we do that for every single person who comes in.”
An allotment has been set up which has provided most of the vegetables and salads over the summer, and other food comes through donations and through the Foodcloud system of distributing supermarket surpluses. “There has been wonderful support from the local community for this, and people’s generosity is great to see,” added Robert. “We are obviously meeting a real need as new people come in most weeks, and we’ve been so touched by how local businesses, groups and individuals have got behind us.”
Tickets from 087 7756736 or in Arklow from The Blue Café, Upper Main St, Kavanagh’s Wexford Rd or Arklow Bay Hotel.