Originally from Wexford but living in Dublin, Phyl Geraghty volunteers for Dublin’s Simon Community.
I’ve been involved in the Dublin Simon Community since 2010. It’s always been a charity close to my heart because of the fantastic facilities it has and how it looks after those people who find themselves on the streets. I was always very sympathetic towards homeless people and would have been very critical of people who’d say ‘they should get up and and do something’. These people found themselves there and that’s it, they just couldn’t cope with life. I always think of their mothers and fathers too.
About five years ago I started getting involved in the Dublin Simon Community soup run. I decided that I’d do that for a year, and I’m still doing it, every night. There’s a group of ten of us and every Wednesday we go to the kitchen on Capel Street and make up bags of food, tea, coffee and soup and go out in teams. We try to bring out gloves, socks and hats, that sort of thing, but it’s not easy to carry much of that. Each group would meet on averge 12 to 15 people every night, sometimes more. We know all the people and they love to meet you and have a chat. Most of them wouldn’t have spoken to anyone all day. I enjoy the fact that they appreciate it very much They feel that people do care about them. You try and talk to them about the facilities that Simon has and give them phone numbers and that. You come home feeling great. You do meet people too who have recovered and are on the road back and are very happpy with themselves. I started doing the Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon in 2010, and I got very involved in that. I organised a team every year and we’ve raised a lot of money. It’s fantastic. I have a group of sponsors that I contact every year and they’ve been very generous. I’d like to say a big thank you to them and I’m very grateful for the support they give me. It makes me go back to do it every year!
There is about 50 of us that do the Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon. We meet up as a team and there’s great comradery. The volunteers for the Dublin Simon Community are really nice and have one goal in common, to help the people on the street.
My favourite aspect of the day of the Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon is coming in towards the finish line in St Stephen’s Green! Then meeting everyone afterwards. Everyone is on a real high. I never want to go home, I always want to sit down and have a coffee and talk about it. It’s a fantastic experience, with people of all ages and all the different charities represented. It’s a great day out. www.dubsimon.ie