Thursday 18 October 2018

Fundraiser for Christmas dinner for the homeless

Esther Hayden

Preparations are under way again this year for a Christmas dinner for the homeless and alone with a fundraiser taking place on November 17.

Organised by Wexford People Helping People the Christmas Day event will take place in St Joseph's Community Centre, Wexford town moving from last year's location of Glynn Community Centre.

Wexford People Helping People is a volunteer group set up to tackle the problems of homelessness, families/individuals in financial difficulties and those suffering from mental health illnesses, directing them to appropriate services in their area.

Initially, this was in response to not only focusing on those with housing issues, but to focus on the root cause of problems stemming from low income, high private rent rates, shortage of public housing and unlivable conditions due to damp, mould etc.

Other factors could include job loss, medical expenses, sickness, separation, delayed social welfare payments and loss of essential services such as electricity and water in which thousands have experienced recently.

The group aim to empower communities across Wexford by bringing about unity amongst the people by helping others facing various difficulties. A helping hand for the most vulnerable in society to ease the strain and stress on many people.

Last Christmas the group was founded by Claire-Marie Malone and the first Christmas Day dinner was organised for those alone and homeless. The event was held in Glynn Community Centre and proved very successful with 40 guests and 60 dinners and hampers sent out that evening to those who couldn't make it.

There were volunteers from all over the south-east including a couple who came down from Galway to either help out on the day or in the run up to our event. Donations flooded in during those four weeks of organising giving everyone a day to remember.

This year the committee has decided to hold the Christmas Day dinner in a more centralised location at St Joseph's Community Centre in Wexford town which has been kindly sponsored by St Joseph's committee.

This will give more people a chance to come along and enjoy Christmas dinner. This year the dinner is being held for anyone who would like to enjoy a community Christmas celebration and also the organisers are encouraging anybody alone or experiencing homelessness to join in too. A strictly non-alcohol event, the day will consist of a sit down meal for both volunteers and guests, games and activities for the kids and a visit from Santa Clause with presents.

To volunteer or to attend the dinner contact Gary O'Brien - 085 8256235; Nikki O'Brien - 089 2119489; Claire-Marie Malone - 086 1611771; Gail McMahon - 085 8336866 or Bianca O'Grady - 0858122884.

A strict confidentiality policy is operated by the committee.

To help fund this year's Christmas dinner there will be a musical fundraiser in the Riverbank House Hotel on November 17 at 7.30 p.m. Music on the night will be provided by Natty Wailer (formerly of Bob Marley and The Wailers) and Mandy J; Hot Rod Hearse (Rockabilly and Folk mix); Vagabond (Irish Folk, Ballads and Country); Kermie (Kerry and Jamie singing a bit of everything) and Rachel Grace (Folk/Blues and Contemporary).

There will be a raffle with lots of spot prizes on the night thanks to the generosity of local businesses and individuals.

Tickets are only €10 each and can be purchased from The Riverbank House Hotel, Jenny's Beauty Bar on Lower Rowe St and Candy Boutique on North Main St. Tickets can also be purchased at the door.

To donate a prize contact the committee.

Enniscorthy Guardian