A New Year's Eve wedding in Dungloe saw a couple and their family and friends stop time to raise €900 for the homeless.
Jessica Gallagher and Rory McLaughlin came home from Manchester this Christmas to get married in Donegal on New Year’s Eve.
The newlyweds, along with their 300 guests, stopped celebrating to freeze in place for a minute and make a mannequin challenge video which collected funds for the Capuchin Day Centre in Dublin.
Jessica, from Burtonport, and Rory, from Derry, met in college in Belfast. Now Jessica works as a teacher and Rory works in insurance in England.
The couple and their families, especially Jessica’s mother Suzanne, were very happy to take time on their wedding day to make the video.
Speaking to Donegal Woman, Jessica’s mother Suzanne shared the story behind the video:
“We had nearly 300 guests at the wedding and I thought – imagine if everyone gave a euro. We ended up with €900 euro and were overwhelmed with the amount of support people gave,” said Suzanne.
Suzanne works as a Special Needs Assistant at the Rosses Community School, she visited Dublin with a class of Transition Year Students and met Brother Kevin Crawley at the Capuchin Centre.
Brother Kevin Crowley is a Capuchin who has run a day shelter in Dublin for homeless people and those struggling with addiction.
“To see the work Br Kevin does there went straight to my heart. At the time they were serving lunches and there were so many people and schoolchildren queuing for food. The visit showed me and the students that people aren’t as fortunate as we are.”
“It affects the children to see how everyone is in different circumstances.”
Back in 2013, Br Kevin told TheJournal.ie that the centre gets €450,000 from the government, while their running costs are €2.2 million. They rely on public donations to provide meals and food packages to feed hundreds of people every day.
At the wedding reception, Suzanne put out jars on every table so guests could donate to Br Kevin’s work. The staff at the Waterfront Hotel helped the family arrange the mannequin challenge to raise even more awareness for the cause.
“We had it in the back of our minds to do the mannequin challenge. When everyone had their bellies full and they were happy enjoying the day we thought it would be a good time to think of others. The staff in the hotel were fabulous. They arranged the music and we announced what we’re doing and why we were doing it.”
Photographer Conor Doherty came to record the video on his iPhone, and it’s proving to be a big hit online.
The newlyweds were delighted to count the money from the jars on New Year’s Day and see that they raised just under €900. “We couldn’t believe it, people were so generous,” said Suzanne. They have rounded off this number and will present it to Br Kevin soon.