THE fifth annual community Christmas Day Dinner will be held in Gort on December 25. Anyone who is on their own and would like some company on Christmas day is invited to come along. Organisers are also seeking volunteers to help out on the day and donations to support the event.
“I originally started the community/family dinner when I myself was alone at Christmas, and wished I wasn’t. The feeling of family/community is very important, so that it doesn’t feel like an organised event, rather a friendly gathering every Christmas. I have people who have attended every single year. I am now married, but still feel strongly about continuing the dinner, as I feel there is a great need for such events. People don’t realise how many people are alone and lonely out there. You may be homeless and sleeping in a car, you could be a retired couple who haven’t the strength to cook and nowhere to go, a single parent coping alone, or a multi millionaire living alone with no one to spend the day with or simply someone who is alone with no family nearby,” explained organiser, Amanda Norton Anderson. “We get all walks of life there,” she added.
According to Amanda, the event is meant to be fun and informal and an opportunity to be with other people and maybe make new friends.
“In fact, I met my now husband at the third annual dinner. He volunteered to help and share the dinner, but was in fact also alone and too shy to admit it. We clicked immediately. We were married six months later. So this year will be our third anniversary of meeting,” she explained.
To share in this year’s dinner, contact Amanda on 087 2103996 or firstname.lastname@example.org, as the dinner is ticket only.
“We don’t charge for the tickets, as we wish to keep a level playing field of access for everyone. This also helps to maintain the feeling of a family and community Christmas Day for all taking part, rather than a cold, organised event feeling. If you can make a donation towards the cost of the event, then thank you, it is much needed. However, if you can’t, then we understand that also. You are also welcome to help us prepare the dinner/event. Many people volunteer on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and then also take part in the dinner and afternoon festivities,” she pointed out, adding “this helps us enormously.”
For those who cannot help out, Amanda would welcome donations to help cover the cost of holding the event.
“We need volunteers to help, and just as importantly, donations of food from our shopping list or money so we can buy it. All suitable excess food is donated to South Galway Social Services, and excess money donations are carried over for next year.
The event is independently organised by myself, with no funding from anywhere. I totally depend on donations and volunteers to be able to continue it. My aim is that it is a friendly, family style dinner, along the lines of what my grandmother used to produce, so very traditional,” she concluded.
By Nicola Corless