Cork charity distributes communion dresses as families struggle to pay for child’s big day


A CORK charity recently provided three little girls with communion dresses following major concern from families unable to pay for their child’s big day.

Caitríona Twomey, who runs the soup kitchen’s charity, Cork Penny Dinners, told how a mum searched the internet before picking up the dress to make it look like she was buying it online.

When the little girl accompanied her mother to pick up the dress, she thought they were visiting a showroom.

“It was really very smart what the mother did,” Caitríona said.

“She didn’t want her daughter to know that the family was going through a tough time, so she just told her that was where people bought communion dresses on the internet. They looked on the internet the night before and she asked the little girl to choose a number of dresses online.

“This meant that when she went to get her communion dress online, she didn’t have a clear idea in her head of what the dress would look like. She had chosen so many that it was hard for her to remember. what they all looked like.

“The little girl didn’t know any better and felt like a princess when she tried it on – just like any other little girl who goes out to pick up her communion dress. I thought it was adorable. Which is even nicer , is that the mother of the little girl didn’t expect the dresses to be brand new, so that was a real bonus for her.”

Cork Penny Dinners started giving out communion dresses after a simple request turned into a pop-up style shop with free costumes and communion dresses for poor families.


Other businesses then joined – from fashion stores to dry cleaning companies – to offer support for free. Caitríona expressed her gratitude to the families who donated the new communion dresses last week.

“A family dropped off three new communion dresses with accessories and they happened to fit perfectly on each of the girls who needed them, which was unusual.”

She said collecting a child’s communion dress from Cork Penny Dinners can be a moving experience.

“Mums and dads mostly come with their child. There are often tears that flow when they come to pick up the dresses. Those tears are more of relief than sadness. Parents are so happy to know that their child will have a dress for their communion day.”

Dressing a child for their communion, Caitríona said, can be extremely rewarding.

“The best part is that we have a chance to take the worry away from children. These are families from all walks of life. A communion is the first great memory a child will have. They have the chance to be transformed into little ones. princesses. It’s a magical day for the children but it’s also a magical day for us.”

In keeping with tradition, the official Cork Penny Dinner hairdresser, Joseph Byrne, will look after the Communion girls and boys on this day.

“He has always been very good to us and has the ability to make every child feel special.”

To find out more about Cork Penny Dinners, visit


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