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  • Northside West

Local kitchen delivering festive spirit

Friday, 21st December, 2018 8:00am
Local kitchen delivering festive spirit

Susan Kenny and Yvonne Drumgoole packing food for Northside Homecare at Marewoord Court Ballymun. All Photos: Darren Kinsella

Local kitchen delivering festive spirit

Susan Kenny and Yvonne Drumgoole packing food for Northside Homecare at Marewoord Court Ballymun. All Photos: Darren Kinsella

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Orla Dwyer

HOMELESS people across Dublin’s inner city will be treated to Christmas dinners over the holidays thanks to a community kitchen in Ballymun. 

Northside Homecare Services has provided care and services to residents of North Dublin for over 30 years. They are now extending their generosity to the homeless with the help of Inner City Helping Homeless (ICHH). 

Head of Operations at Northside Homecare, Maria Jackson, said the initiative was set up with nutrition in mind. 

“We wanted to give the option of a healthy meal instead of just fast food,” she said. “The meals will last for three days, so we will provide three meals on Christmas Eve to families.” 

Roughly 50 nutritious meals are prepared fresh every weekday in the kitchen in Ballymun and ICHH pick them up for distribution around the city. Northside Homecare provides home care and a meals on wheels service for members of local communities in Dublin 5 and 11. 

Brian McLoughlin, Head of Communications at ICHH, said the initiative was a great idea for Christmas, which can be a tough time for the homeless.  

“I think it is a game changer for homeless people in Dublin in that they will have the option of a nutritional meal over the Christmas period,” said McLoughlin.

“It is a small consolation for us to know that at the very least the families can have a good meal over the Christmas.”

The initiative started up at the end of November but has been in the works for quite a while. The meals are given out through homeless hubs in the inner city by the ICHH.

“With 780,000 people living below the poverty line in Ireland at present these meals can be life changing for people,” said McLoughlin. “Not just people experiencing homelessness but pensioners and other people that are struggling to survive.

“It’s going amazingly well so far,” Jackson emphasised about the scheme. “Without the volunteers, we wouldn’t be able to provide our service.”

The organisation provides around 1,000 meals a week for meals on wheels and other services. Other Christmas events will be held by the organisation such as a meals on wheels Christmas party. 

They are also looking into an initiative to give homeless people a place to stay during the day while they are between accommodations. It is common for homeless people to be moved from accommodation early in the morning and not given another place until late in the evening. 

“It would be great for kids to have somewhere warm to sit and do their homework in the evenings and eat their dinner,” said Jackson. 

Jackson says anyone can come to the centre in Ballymun and get a three course meal but they need to ring in advance.

She also said the organisation is in desperate need of more drivers to provide the meals on wheels around the local community. 

“We are in a serious crisis for volunteer drivers at the moment,” said Jackson. 

The homeless meals initiative has been running very well so far with plans to increase the number of meals in the future. The reaction from homeless people has also been very positive. 

“We have received some fantastic feedback from people that are so grateful to be able to have a home cooked meal instead of living on takeaways or snacks,” said McLoughlin.

Chef Stephen Halpin and Danielle Mahon preparing food at Marewoord Court Ballymun. Chef Stephen Halpin and Danielle Mahon preparing food at Marewoord Court Ballymun.

Read the digital editions of the Dublin People Northside East, Northside West & Southside here