Former Everton and Republic of Ireland star Kevin Sheedy is flying into Belfast next month for a fundraiser to help The People’s Kitchen in the city.
The gifted winger wowed supporters with his dazzling skills as he helped the Toffees win two league titles (‘85 and ‘87) and the European Cup Winners Cup (‘85) in a golden era for the Merseyside club.
On the eve of the new Premier League season, Sheedy will be the subject of the charity fundraiser in the Crumlin Star Social Club in north Belfast on Friday August 5.
Sheedy says he is delighted not only to be talking to fans about his glorious career, but also to be raising money and awareness for the People’s Kitchen, which aims to help people who are homeless, isolated or struggling with addiction.
He told Sunday Life: “It’s a chance for fans to ask questions they might be able to ask otherwise, and a chance to reflect on some great times with Everton.
“The fact that the night is also a fundraiser for the People’s Kitchen in north Belfast is even better, because it is a very noble charity.
“There is a lot going on in the world at the minute, we still have Covid, there is a war in Ukraine and the cost of living is getting higher and higher, making life very difficult for people with difficulties like mental health, homelessness and addiction.
“I’m well aware of the difficulties people are facing because we have the same in Liverpool with the Liverpool Kitchen, which is associated with Everton Football Club.
“It’s a brilliant job they do and I am delighted to support it in whatever way I can.”
SDLP councillor Paul McCusker is a prime mover behind the charity, which started life as St Patrick’s Soup Kitchen five years ago primarily for north Belfast, but now caters for all of Belfast as demand has mushroomed.
“It’s a dire situation and we are seeing unprecedented numbers of people needing help from charities like ourselves”, said the Ardoyne man.
“Poverty is a problem all over Belfast, so we opened up our services and are now helping people from all over, from East Belfast to Ardoyne, Shankill to the Falls, and we are delivering 1,000 dinners a week, either on the street or to houses.
“I know one case of a mother who walked four miles with her children to the People’s Kitchen to get some food.
“I know another case where a man walked from the building site he was working on straight here to get food, but he waited around the corner until people left because he was embarrassed.
“There is desperation out there. People are under extreme pressure and demand for help is growing.
“We have homeless people coming to us, asylum seekers, parents with large families who are struggling to make end meet, pensioners who have to choose between food or heat.
“We are a charity, so we rely on financial and food donations from the public, and all credit to people in Belfast and beyond, we have had a great response to appeals for help.”