Christ­mas cheer

Irish Examiner - County - - Front Page - ÁilíniQuin­lan

Vol­un­teers in Dun­man­way have al­ready be­gun to make prepa­ra­tions for the pro­vi­sion of around 45 free Christ­mas din­ner to lo­cal res­i­dents on De­cem­ber 25.

Vol­un­teers in Dun­man­way have al­ready be­gun to make prepa­ra­tions for the pro­vi­sion of around 45 free Christ­mas din­ners — be­lieved to be West Cork’s only such event — to lo­cal res­i­dents on De­cem­ber 25.

Or­gan­is­ers to­day is­sued an ap­peal for prospec­tive din­ers to con­tact the Dun­man­way Meals on Wheels to have their names in­cluded on the Christ­mas Din­ner list.

“As far as we are aware, this is the only free pub­lic Christ­mas din­ner in West Cork,” said lo­cal de­vel­op­ment worker Louise O’Leary.

Some 40 in­di­vid­u­als, in­clud­ing sev­eral chil­dren, have al­ready vol­un­teered to help out on the day. On Christ­mas Day, peo­ple will be busy at work at the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s HQ on the Bantry Road, cook­ing and serv­ing the meal. Some lo­cal peo­ple will also be mak­ing and do­nat­ing a range of home­made desserts, while oth­ers will be pro­vid­ing a va­ri­ety of en­ter­tain­ment, and free trans­port for din­ers to and from their homes on the day.

Lo­cal so­lic­i­tor, John Collins, is spon­sor­ing the event, while Dun­man­way’s trans­port com­pany, May­bury’s Coaches, has do­nated the use of one of its buses to bring din­ers to and from their homes. Mr Collins said: “I am al­ways very con­scious that Christ­mas can be a lonely time for many, so when I saw the ap­peal for a main spon­sor for Christ­mas Day I didn’t hes­i­tate to con­tact Louise. Hav­ing met ev­ery­one in­volved and see­ing first-hand the won­der­ful work that they do ev­ery day I am de­lighted to have sup­ported them”.

Each year, on Christ­mas Day, Dun­man­way Meals On Wheels opens its doors to the Com­mu­nity, of­fer­ing a day of great food and fun in a fes­tive so­cia­ble en­vi­ron­ment at the Meals on Wheels Cen­tre.

This year is no ex­cep­tion, prom­ises Ms O’Leary, who added that all names must be lodged with the or­gan­i­sa­tion by De­cem­ber 13: “We’re now urg­ing peo­ple to book in ad­vance — they can do im­me­di­ately. We don’t want to dis­ap­point any­body, so we’re urg­ing peo­ple to get their names in early.”

Some vol­un­teers are com­ing in on Christ­mas Eve to do the nec­es­sary prepa­ra­tions. Oth­ers will be on duty for sev­eral hours on Christ­mas Day — cook­ing and serv­ing the meals un­der the guid­ance of head chef Alex Ho­gan, while still more will be act­ing as driv­ers.

“Other peo­ple will come in and sit with the din­ers, chat­ting and play­ing games,” ex­plained Louise, adding that a group of lo­cal chil­dren have vol­un­teered to re­cite po­etry and pro­vide mu­si­cal en­ter­tain­ment to the din­ers. Lo­cal DJ Brian Collins will also be on hand to pro­vide more mu­sic, while din­ers will each re­ceive a Christ­mas gift.

“In all, in­clud­ing the chil­dren we will have up to 40 peo­ple vol­un­teer­ing their help,” she said, adding that the chil­dren will be pre­sented with Young Vol­un­teer cer­tifi­cates,” she ex­plained. The chil­dren’s per­for­mances will take place from 11am.

On the day, the cooks will be­gin work at about 8.30am, al­though the Cen­tre does not open its doors to the pub­lic un­til 11am. The three-course Christ­mas Din­ner, which in­cludes soup, turkey and ham with all the trim­mings, as well as the choice of a large va­ri­ety of home-made desserts, will be­gin around 1pm, and the Cen­tre stays open un­til 3pm. “Ev­ery­thing is made from scratch so it will be de­li­cious and health,” said Ms O’Leary.

Christ­mas gifts on the day will come from a spe­cial Christ­mas Gift Drive col­lec­tion in shops through­out Dun­man­way, En­niskeane, Balli­neen and Dri­moleaague — shop­pers can put a gift worth €10 or buy a voucher worth €10 which can be put into the box.

Book your seat at the Christ­mas Table by ring­ing 023-8868110 or 087-2078016

Prepa­ra­tions for West Cork’s only com­mu­nity Christ­mas Day un­der way with Michael Hayes, Mor­rin Cur­tis, John Collins and Louise O’Leary.

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