THE ILLUSTRATED LONDON NEWS. [Mar 13, 1847.]
The benevolent attempts to alleviate the present scarcity are specially worthy of illustration in our pages; since they, doubtless, in many instances, prompt the reader to aid directly or indirectly in the good work, “all mankind’s concern”– charity. The annexed Illustration is of this class of subjects; it represents the Soup Depôt, in Barrack-street, Cork, stated to be the first establishment of the kind opened in Ireland for the distribution of food to the poor, gratuitously. Our artist (Mr. James Mahoney) assures us that 1300 poor persons are thus relieved daily; and that the establishment has effected more good among the wretched than any other means of relief yet suggested. The rush to obtain a place in one of the partitions (eight in number), so as to be in time for the distribution, is surprising; as is, also, the quiet, peaceable demeanor of the poor people.The spot where this large Depôt has been fitted up was, until this year, one of the principal potato markets, and is, therefore, well calculated for the purpose; it being well walled in, and surrounded with sheds, which afford shelter to the poor applicants. The food is cooked in an upper building, and handed down for distribution, as shown by our artist. Previously to this, an equally large quantity of capital meat soup is distributed at one halfpenny per quart, to such as choose to purchase it. It is worthy of remark, that, from the opening of this Depôt to the present time, not an act of dishonesty has been known to take place; Alderman Roche stating that not a spoon or vessel to be missing.
We quote these additional details of the mode of distribution, from the Southern Reporter:
It is impossible to overrate the valuable services rendered by the gentlemen who attend here, and undertake the arduous duty of administering the daily rations of food to the famishing and clamorous crowds who beset the gates. The average number supplied every day at this establishment for the past week has been 1300, and many hundreds more apply, whom it is impossible at present to accommodate. The upper gate is opened at twelve o’clock, and eight hundred are admitted, when the tremendous rush which takes place presents fearful evidence of the hunger and misery which the crowd are enduring; on entering, they are classified, and stationed in the order in which it is intended to serve them, in a row of pens or enclosed places under the range of sheds at the right hand, each lot of 100 being in charge of a policeman, to see that each is properly attended to: there is then a communication from the kitchen in the rear, through which the homminy is handed in tins, containing a quart each, with great rapidity, to each person, who then crosses the yard to the sheds at the other side, and there eats his food. The whole 800 are served in about three hours, and are then let out by the lower gate, and a fresh batch of 5 to 600 admitted as before, and fed in the same way. We tasted the food they receive, which is most carefully prepared from rice and Indian meal, well boiled and seasoned, and can safely declare that it is excellent. We would, however, earnestly appeal to the ever active benevolence of the charitable, by suggesting the immense advantage the poor would derive from the addition of a little bread to this description of soup. Even a two-penny loaf per day from one half of the respectable families in Cork, who would not miss ten times its cost, sent to this Depôt, would be of incalculable assistance, and greatly aid the noble exertions of the Committee.”