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.