These People Are, Without Doubt, The Kindest And Most Selfless Souls In Dublin
'Consider this an open love letter to our city's high-vis clad angels'
It's 8pm on a cold November night on O'Connell Street.
You're looking at the ground, rushing home and counting down the minutes until you can curl up on the couch and relax after a long day.
Just before The Savoy, you notice the bustling queue of people of every size, age, background and description lining up beside a nondescript van.
The orderly queues and lingering Gardaí tell you it's serious.
On closer inspection, it's all joy.
Joy of life, joy of warmth, joy of food.
It's a Dublin 1 oasis, offering nourishment of all kinds. From the most basic, like warm milk, to the more compassionate, like eye contact.
The volunteers of the soup kitchens in Ireland are handing out so much more than soup. It's care, it's worry, it's acknowledgement - and it's the reassurance to those struggling that they are not alone. That it's not them against the world. That they're not just another number. Another statistic. Another forgotten member of Dublin's city centre.
The evenings are only getting colder but hearts are glowing warmer, thanks to the inexhaustible legion of citizens giving up their evenings, their work parties, their family get-togethers, their football practice, their time with their kids and their blissful ignorance about the city's growing homelessness problem.
365 days a year, over 100 part-time carers and volunteers are on call, walking the streets in all weather offering soup, sandwiches, tea and a chat if desired, to people who are without refuge around the city.
Forming links back into the community and tapping into a life worth leading - these people are literally saving lives.
Human connection is as necessary and intrinsic to our well-being as sustenance, and the vitality that's delivered to homeless by these wonderful souls is someone that should never be underestimated.
Consider this an open love letter to the troupe of high-vis clad angels who allow this city to be deemed one of the most welcoming in the world.
The people to which we are referring are just as busy as you are, just as knackered as you are, and just as cold as you are. Yet they carry on, and we are so unbelievably glad that they exist.
To the carers, volunteers and creators of these wonderful organisations: you are absolutely bloody fantastic and the best thing about our incredible city.
You bowl us over with your generosity every single day so, from the bottom of our hearts, we wanted to thank you. Because you're fucking deadly.
Now we ask you, our readers, to think about something for a second. Is there something you can do to help?
The time you've spent hovering, clicking, examining and reading this article could've been spent checking out which of the plethora of soup kitchens, homeless shelters and hope providers you can get involved in.
Maybe it's a donation, maybe a bag of clothes to a local charity shop, maybe you can give some of your time to helping those nightly crews.
Chances are, you've always wanted to. It's not too late, they're never too full and you won't be alone.
Even if it's just an hour, every bit helps.
Volunteer this Christmas:
For more information on how you can tackle homelessness head on, check out Hope In The Darkness, Humans Too, Dublin Simon Community, The Peter McVerry Trust, Focus Ireland, NOVAS or any of the other wonderful organisations in our city.
Header image credit: Dublin Simon Community.