As WCBS 880’s Sean Adams reported, St. Patrick was a missionary who led a life of charity and compassion. Those virtues can be seen in the Irish enclave along McLean Avenue in Yonkers, and not just on St. Paddy’s Day.
“Every Monday afternoon, a group of volunteers get together here at the Aisling Center and prepare 800 sandwiches for the homeless,” Aisling Irish Community Center executive director Orla Kelleher told Adams.
The sandwiches are delivered to the homeless in Manhattan.
“A lot of immigrants here might be very close to being homeless at times if they’re out of work here. So I think it’s just a small way of looking out for the more vulnerable people here in New York City,” said Kelleher. “They’ve often given sandwiches to young children that are out there with their parents, to senior citizens that are homeless.”
Program coordinator Linda Croston points to the history of the Great Famine and more recent hard times, Adams reported.
“They’re mindful of the hard times that they’ve suffered and endured themselves in Ireland and the economic crisis that they’ve had to sit through. So I think once people feel that they have the means to give back, they want to get involved and they want to give back. That’s probably just the Irish way, helping out a neighbor,” she told Adams. “The Irish, they almost have the need to give back. Those that have been successful in this country, they feel a need to give back to those that are less fortunate.”
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Joe Cremin has been delivering meals to Manhattan for a decade.
“These guys are not lowlifes, they’re not drug dealers, they’re not drunks. They’re just down on their luck. The Irish center is God’s gift to the world,” said Cremin.
Recipients said they’re grateful for the sandwich, hot soup and warm smile doled out by volunteers from the Aisling Center.
“Whatever they have, they give and it’s given with love,” a homeless man told Adams.
The Aisling Irish Community Center was established in 1996.
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