Helping Hands...

By Mary Dennehy

MORE than 300 people attended the Christmas Day dinner for the homeless in Tallaght, with over 400 hampers delivered to families struggling to provide Christmas in their own homes.

The 6th annual community-led Christmas Day dinner for the homeless took place on December 25, with 305 adults and children enjoying a three-course meal in KidsZone.

Homeless dinner 2019 1 compressor

Volunteers ready to serve Christmas Dinner to over 300 people at the 6th annual Christmas Day dinner for the homeless in KidsZone

While a number of individuals in attendance were sleeping rough, the majority of people this year were families living in emergency accommodation.

According to Councillor Dermot Richardson – one of the founders of the event – there has been a notable increase and shift in demand since the first event in 2014.

Alongside providing dinner, gifts, warm clothes and toiletries to those attending the Christmas Day dinner, food hampers are now also handed out to families struggling to provide Christmas in their own homes.

This year more than 400 food hampers were delivered to families, who were supported by the community to spend Christmas together in their own home.

Last year 285 hampers were delivered to homes, with this year’s increase met by an outpouring of generosity by the community, local clubs and businesses.

“There was an increase in demand this year from families who couldn’t afford Christmas at home,” Cllr Richardson said.

“It’s important to help families to stay in their own homes and we were able to support more people this year thanks to the generosity of the community.”

Homless dinner 2019 3 compressorVolunteers on the day included former Ireland international Keith Fahey, Robbie Darcy and Sean Crowe, TD

Cllr Richardson (Sinn Féin) thanked members of the public and local businesses for donations and support, and clubs such as Mark’s Celtic and Sacred Heart FC, that made hampers for local families.

Thanks were also issued to the Maldron Hotel Tallaght and its chef Johnny Fitzgerald, who volunteered to cook the Christmas Day dinner.

“This year was very successful thanks to the support of the community,” Cllr Richardson said.

“Without your support we could not hold this event.”

Any food that was left over after Christmas Day was brought into Brother Kevin in the Capuchin Day Centre on St Stephen’s Day.

Items have also being delivered to community projects such as JADD, Tallaght Rehabilitation Project and CARP for their support services.

More than 40 volunteers gave their time to support local group A Helping Hand in providing the Christmas Day dinner and hamper support for families.

For further details on A Helping Hand follow the group on Facebook.

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