Prisoners give back and help tackle food poverty

Prisoners give back and help tackle food poverty

By Mary Dennehy

TALLAGHT-based food-bank Crosscare this week collected a generous donation of food items from the inmates of Cloverhill Prison, who have been organising a food drive for the past five years to help tackle food poverty.

On Wednesday, December 20, the Jobstown Crosscare team visited the Clondalkin-based remand prison to collect a generous donation of food items, such as porridge, tinned goods, biscuits, crisps, teabags and sugar, which inmates have been buying from the prison’s tuck shop in recent weeks.

USE Crosscare and CloverhillSome of the food items donated by the inmates of Cloverhill 

The food drive was organised by 20 inmates who are currently training to be Red Cross volunteers.

Caitriona McGrath, a teacher within Cloverhill’s education centre, told The Echo: “It is the volunteers’ job to improve their community, which is the prison, through health and wellbeing events.

“[The food drive] is one such initiative. They placed a large bin beside the shop and when inmates visited the shop they’d buy something extra and put it into the bin.

“There are 400 prisoners [in Cloverhill] and they all contributed in some way towards the food collection.”

While highlighting the difference the food collection will make to the families supported by Crosscare, Ms McGrath also spoke of the difference it makes to prisoners.

“The food drive makes them feel that they are giving back to the community, gives them a sense of value,” she said.

“They also feel that because they can’t be with their families at Christmas they can at least help improve other families’ Christmases.”