Depaul is a charity supporting people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
Established in 2002 in Ireland and 2005 in Northern Ireland, it is now a leading cross-border organisation. Their focus is on those experiencing homelessness and marginalisation, who need vital support and opportunity to realise their true potential. They offer support and guidance to break the cycle of homelessness and assist their service users in making positive choices for their future.
Depaul believes homelessness has no place.
“A lot of the homeless people who walk through these doors haven’t eaten properly in months.” — Chef Mark says.
A home-cooked meal. A cup of hot, sweet tea. A moment of humanity. Feeding hungry, homeless people is one of the most fundamental parts of the good work the supporters power at Depaul.
“You wouldn’t believe the power of something as simple as a cup of tea and a biscuit,” says Mark, Depaul’s chef at Ozanam House homeless hostel in Wexford.
“A lot of the people I meet live most of their lives on the street. It’s just a cup of tea but you can’t underestimate the comfort of it.”
This will be Mark’s 13th year feeding Ireland’s homeless and hungry. He says he loves every second of his job.
Thanks to the kind people who support Depaul, there is a place for all the lost and lonely people. A place where a hot meal, a kind word, and help and hope can always be found.
“If you could see the appreciation people have of getting a hot meal…They’re so grateful to have a plate of home-cooked dinner in front of them.”
For Chef Mark, his work is more than just a job. It’s about delivering love and humanity in every meal he serves.
“Even if I’m finishing my shift and I’m out the door. If someone comes along and missed a meal – I don’t refuse them, I make sure they get something.”
“I’ve gotten to know a lot of people, and sometimes they will come to me feeling low. I say, ‘come on, let’s get a cup of tea and have a chat’ — I’m not here to judge, just to listen. Often they have no one in their life they can talk to.”
Mark remembers one older man who he hadn’t seen before.
“He came up to me after dinner and said ‘thank you for talking to me like I’m a real person.’ I couldn’t believe that. Just being able to sit down to have a meal and a chat. It meant the world to him.”
In many ways, the kitchens are at the heart of the work at Depaul, fulfilling the most basic of human needs.
Mark makes hearty, comforting meals like cabbage and bacon, shepherd’s pie, and always lots of fresh vegetables.
And when it comes to people sleeping rough and eating mainly fast food or meal deals, Chef Mark believes good food is vital for recover.
“There was one young fella who came in. He was skin and bones. He probably hadn’t had a proper meal in years. A few months later, he left our services, and he looked like a different person. It made me really happy to be part of that transformation.”
To support Depaul’s kitchens Donate Now