Why charities make sure everyone is not alone this Christmas

by Rose Barrett
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Rose Barrett

On Christmas Day, not everyone has family or friends to celebrate with, and especially so since the onset of the pandemic. Following the Covid-19 restrictions over Christmas 2020, there was an increase in older people spending Christmas day alone.

With Covid-19 numbers increasing once again and older people still nervous about mixing,  ALONE, Irish Rural Link (IRL) and the Knights of St Columbanus have teamed up to provide over 1,200 Christmas dinners across the country, with 450 to be delivered in Dublin.   

The Order of the Knights of St Columbanus appropriately linked up with IRL, the national network representing the interest of rural communities and ALONE, the national organisation that supports older people to live independently at home, to deliver the Christmas day dinner scheme.

Through its Support & Befriending Service, ALONE has identified over 700 people who will be on their own during the Christmas season and will require meals on Saturday.

In Dublin, ALONE volunteers will be picking up Christmas dinners from the Knights of Columbanus in the RDS and will deliver to over 450 older people.

Through its national network of Meals on Wheels providers, IRL are able to match up a Meals on Wheels service to over 320 older people who will, not just get a meal but, have someone call to them on the day. Their efforts will be complimented by local community groups and centres who will also be delivering Christmas dinners.

Seán Moynihan, CEO of ALONE said: “Nobody should be alone at Christmas and this thoughtful delivery of a dinner for Christmas day coupled with a call from our Support & Befriending volunteers/staff hopes to combat these feelings of isolation and loneliness as best we can.

“We are so thankful for our relationship with IRL and the Knights of St Columbanus. With the costs of fuel and food increasing drastically and the continued uncertainty that COVID-19 brings, the demand for our support has increased again this year so we need to expand across the country.”

Seamus Boland, CEO of IRL, said: “Meals on Wheels is an important service at any time of the year but is especially important at Christmas to make sure people have a nutritious meal but also to provide human contact on the day.”

Paddy Sheridan, Christmas Dinners Committee at the Knights of St Columbanus said “We will distribute approx. 3,500 high quality prepared Christmas Day Dinners from the RDS  this year and ALONE is a vital part of this distribution operation. We will also host our hot meal service at the Mansion House for those on foot and rough sleepers.”

If you or someone you know will be on their own this Christmas, you can contact ALONE on 0818 222 024 from 8am – 8pm. For Meals on Wheels, check out https://mealsonwheelsnetwork.ie/ or contact 0906 482 744. 

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