Locals lead the way in helping the homeless by organising a Christmas Day dinner
By Mary Dennehy
AS THE Government is this week accused of delayed action on the homeless crisis, a community-led Christmas Day dinner for the homeless was announced.
Last year, the true meaning of Christmas was served to more than 140 people on December 25, when residents, services and local businesses united in support of the area’s homeless.
Led by independent councillor Dermot Richardson and Tallaght resident Catherine McKenna, the dinner was staged in Tallaght Adventure World – and included music, gifts, medical advice and free essentials such as toiletries, warm clothes, hats, scarfs and blankets.
Due to an outpouring of support, the dinner, which could have cost in the region of €6,000, was staged without any costs – with an army of volunteers, residents and businesses also coming on board to donate time, food, gifts and essentials.
The community has once again united and will hold the free Christmas lunch this December 25 in Tallaght Adventure World, with support from community-led service VISIT, a voluntary soup kitchen in Tallaght, Pranic Healing Ireland, local homeless support services and South Dublin County Council.
Cllr Richardson told The Echo: “This day is open to any individuals or families who are homeless, living in emergency accommodation or hotels and also anybody who may be alone or isolated this Christmas.
“We would like to ask the community for its help as we prepare this Christmas dinner, and if there are any individuals or businesses that would like to support this event by donating food, new clothing, toys, toiletries, we would be extremely grateful.
“However, we are inundated with volunteers and have had to stop taking names, but those wishing to help in some way can still make contact and donate.”
He added: “We helped feed over 140 people for dinner last year but we reckon more will need our support this year.”
Due to the success of the Christmas dinner in Tallaght last year, a similar day is being planned in the Tricky Tricksters Magic Castle in Newbridge, with organisers in Tallaght hoping that more communities across the country may come on board.
KC Scaffolding has donated a container to store donations and anybody wishing to contribute is invited to call 087-2036468, 087-6410110 or drop into Tallaght Adventure World.