A Dublin homeless centre is handing out thousands of Christmas hampers this morning as the service says its dealing with unprecedented levels of demand for help.
Volunteers say they were overwhelmed by the numbers that turned up last week for tickets for the Dunnes Stores gift vouchers, prompting Gardaí to step in and stop the tickets being given out for a time.
Officers have been helping with crowd control again this morning after people started showing up at 2.15am.
Thousands line the streets of Smithfield this morning to pick up their €50 Dunnes Stores gift card from the Capuchin Day Centre.
The majority of the 3000 vouchers have now been distributed. Manager Alan Bailey told me people have been queuing since 2am to get their gift card. pic.twitter.com/l65VLurXCC
— Mairéad Cleary (@maireadcleary7) December 20, 2022
People had started queuing from 4am last week in order to secure tickets for one of the 3,000 hampers, worth nearly €150,000 in total.
Manager of the centre, Alan Bailey, told 98FM news last week that they've seen an upsurge in people coming to the service.
He says they usually serve around 500 dinners a day, which increased to over 660 last week.