A soup kitchen, the first of its kind, is to open in Athlone within the next fortnight.
Twist Food Kitchen intends to open on Sean Costello Street hot on the heels of the commencement of a similar free kitchen in Galway city five months ago.
Athenry man Oliver Williams who is a regular visitor to Athlone said he had seen "a major need" for the facility in Athlone, due to the growing amount of needy people in the town. He hopes to emulate the success the kitchen has had in Galway where on average 85 people are fed a day.
"We need to duplicate what we've done," he said. He said he believed poverty levels were higher in Athlone and so is anticipating a greater number of callers to the Athlone premises.
Volunteers from all walks of life are asked to help make this possible as the kitchen receives no public funding. The kitchen is totally independent and all money raised goes straight into the kitchen and none is spent on administration. Local butchers and food suppliers are encouraged to get on board to help provide meals and volunteers are also sought to work in the soup kitchen and accompanying charity shop. The charity shop will be established to raise funds for the kitchen and all saleable items are welcome. The soup kitchen will be open to anybody, all he asks is that they are polite.
Oliver is also looking for various trades people such as painters, carpenters and plumbers to help with minor repairs. Enthusiastic fundraisers are also needed.
It was a soup kitchen in Soho, London, that sustained Oliver when he first emigrated there as a 15-year-old and it has been since a lifelong ambition of Oliver's to open a soup kitchen.