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Dublin: 12 °C Wednesday 17 October, 2018
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Volunteers will provide thousands of Christmas dinners for those in need today

The largest dinner will be held at the RDS in Dublin, with more than 3,000 people expected to attend.

 Guests at the Knights of Columbanus dinner, Maria, James and Kathleen Byrne from the Navan Road in 2013.
Guests at the Knights of Columbanus dinner, Maria, James and Kathleen Byrne from the Navan Road in 2013.
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

VOLUNTEERS ALL ACROSS the country will today be giving up their time to help those who are less fortunate than them have a Christmas worth remembering this year.

The annual Knights of St Columbanus dinner at the RDS – the largest of its kind in the country – will be taking place again. Those attending the dinner will receive a hot three-course meal of soup, turkey or chicken dinner with ham and vegetables and pudding with tea or coffee.

Numbers attending the banquet increase each year and are expected to be above 3,000 today.

The order also partners with a number of other voluntary organisations such as St Vincent de Paul, Simon, Alone, Age Action, Dublin City Council and others to distribute more than 2,000 freshly prepared meals to homes throughout Dublin City and surrounding areas.

25/12/2013 Christmas Dinners for the Poor Volunteers put together Christmas packages to go out to those in need at the RDS in Dublin in 2013. Source: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

Each year, the order said it is “inundated” with offers from members of the public to volunteer their time on Christmas Day to help out.

Also in Dublin, though on a smaller scale, Margaret Brown will be hosting a dinner for 200 people at Blackrock Rugby Clubb. She will also deliver dinners to a further 100 poeple at the Bentley House Homeless Hostel, to Traveller families in Ballyogen and three families living in caravans at the west pier in Dun Laoghaire.

Brown started the dinner back in 1986, when she served 80 people. Speaking to TheJournal.ie earlier this month, she said:

I realised the great need for a happy, festive meal for those who live alone and are socially isolated on the very day when everyone else is sharing gifts and delicious food with their families and friends around them.

Dinner vouchers

In Cork, Simon will have Christmas dinner today in their day service centre.

Spokesperson Paul Sheekan told Cork’s RedFM:

“It is a particularly difficult time for anybody who is homeless we all have that family support and more often than not for people experiencing homelessness, they don’t have that and quote often it’s a case of reminiscing on what they had or what they might have had and that can add to the stress and the trauma of being homeless.”

The Society of St Vincent De Paul has said it provided 2,800 families with vouchers for a Christmas dinner this year, thanks to the continued support of Brendan O’Carooll and his wife Jenny who made a substantial donation to the charity.

24/12/2016. Joe Duffy Christmas Radio Show at Bail Source: RollingNews.ie

Liam Casey, President of the SVP East Region said the  generosity of Mrs Brown’s Boys means that many families who might have missed out on the traditional Christmas meal will not be disappointed.

“We have seen an increase in requests for food this year and these vouchers will make a huge difference to many families. The vouchers, signed Brendan, Jenny and all the Brown and O’Carroll families also make the vouchers themselves special.”

Read: There were 54 unoccupied beds in homeless shelters in Dublin last night>

Read: Gardaí don’t believe car of homeless man was deliberately set on fire>

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