UP TO €3,000 worth of food and other essential supplies have been donated by members of an Ennis gym to families in need in the community over Christmas.
In the run-up to the festive season, Mike Hogan of Ozone Health and Fitness asked members to donate whatever non-perishable products they could to support local families who need extra help at this time of year. “We did it for the first time in 2019 and collected around 150 kilos of food and other products,” said Mike. “This year, everyone was so conscious of how tough things have been for so many and we were delighted to reach 500 kilos of food and other basic supplies. I’m awful proud of everyone. We have fantastic members. Sometimes, there can be a bit of scepticism about charities and where the money goes, but we proved that what we are doing is supporting genuine people in our own community. People are really fantastic when they’re asked to get together to help, they come through every time.”
After approaching Fr Ger Fitzgerald, Mike was put in touch with Kathleen Austin, a local woman who has been working with a small group of like-minded individuals to support families in need at Christmas. “Fr Ger and Kathleen are amazing,” Mike said. “Once we collected all of the stuff, Kathleen got everything organised into hampers and Fr Ger knows exactly who needs the support. Both of them have been working away for years and we were delighted to be able to help them for the last two years.”
Mike said that while the fitness sector, like all businesses, has been hit hard by the pandemic restrictions, he was determined this year to give something back to the community.
“We’re lucky in that we’ve been established for 12 years,” he said. “We’ve had some really good years and that motivated me to do something practical to help people. This year, the restrictions have seen business drop by 50 to 80% and we’re looking at another lockdown, but we will definitely come out the other side.”