Dublin, 20th December 2021 The Order of the Knights of St Columbanus hosting the 97th Christmas Day Dinner in Dublin, Irish Rural Link (IRL), the national network representing the interest of rural communities and ALONE, the national organisation that supports older people to age at home, have teamed up again this Christmas to ensure older people across the country who will be alone over the Christmas season will have a dinner on Christmas Day.
On Christmas Day, not everyone has family or friends to celebrate Christmas with or have family or friends come to share dinner with. Following the Covid-19 restrictions over Christmas 2020, there was an increase in the number of older people who spent Christmas day on their own. With Covid-19 numbers increasing once again and older people still nervous about mixing with others, IRL and ALONE are collaborating once again to ensure no older person goes without a dinner.
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 at this time.
In Dublin, ALONE Volunteers will be picking up Christmas dinners from the Knights of Columbanus in the RDS and 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 and staff hopes to combat these feelings of isolation and loneliness as best we can. We are so thankful for our relationship with Irish Rural Link and Knights of St Columbanus who have enabled us to reach more older people than ever before on Christmas Day. We are happy to be able to reach those who are having a difficult winter – with the costs of fuel and food increasing drastically and the continued uncertainty COVID-19 brings. The demand has increased again this year as we reach out and expand across the country.”
Seamus Boland, CEO of IRL, said: “Christmas can be a very difficult time for people, especially for older people living alone. 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 provide human contact, that many people don’t have but even more so during the pandemic. This initiative with ALONE is ensuring that no person goes without a dinner on Christmas day.”
Paddy Sheridan, Christmas Dinners Committee at the Knights of St Columbanus said “ We are grateful once again for the collaboration of ALONE in ensuring those in need receive this Christmas Day service. We will distribute approx. 3,500 high quality prepared Christmas Day Dinners from the RDS again 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, any day.
If you want to avail of Meals on Wheels, you can check out the map on the website on https://mealsonwheelsnetwork.ie/ or contact Irish Rural Link on 0906482744.