DUNMANWAY Resource Centre is doing something rather special on December 25th – it is opening its doors so that the people who enjoy its Meals on Wheels service can have a place to party.
The idea has already captured the imagination of the people of Dunmanway, and organiser Morrin Curtis is happy to report that loads of single people, empty nesters, and volunteers of all ages, are clamouring to help on the most sacred of all Christian holidays.
‘People are always very eager to help at Christmas. And, if they can’t come in themselves, they want to bring things because it is such a lovely feeling. Meals on Wheels is a great thing to be involved with, especially at this time of year.’
Local shops and businesses have also taken the idea of their town’s resource centre being a place of welcome and holiday celebration to heart, and have started dropping off goodwill parcels of food and other Christmassy items.
‘It is not the first time that the resource centre was open on Christmas Day,’ said Morrin, ‘but there was a break in the tradition, so we’d like to see the place filled this year with happy diners.
‘Over the last couple of years, Christmas Day has been a Meals on Wheels service but we wanted to bring it back to the way it used to be, and bring people together, and that includes families who find money tight at Christmas time.
‘The first year we did it, we had about 16 people, but it grew and grew until about three years ago when we had about 35 people and that was a great party.’
It stopped for a bit – while Morrin had her children – but this year her family are ‘on board’ and are willing to share their mother with others in the community, as well as doing their bit.
Morrin said they can sit 40 at any one time and that they are open to the idea of doing a double sitting, if the demand is there for it.
During a normal working week, Morrin said she runs the kitchen with the support of Louise O’Leary and 30 volunteers – all of whom do an average of one day a month – and they, as a team, provide 150 meals a week.
Every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, the kitchen at the resource centre turns out 50 meals, which are delivered in every direction, by five volunteer drivers.
The service has been running for 12 years and also draws on the support of Tuas workers and the guy who does all the maintenance and makes sure everything works.
The Christmas Day dinner is entirely funded by the local charity shop, Tar Isteach, so there will be no charge, although some people do like to put something into the donation bucket, but that’s entirely voluntary.
Morrin said this will be a proper Christmas dinner with all the trimmings: ‘There will be turkey, stuffing, ham, spuds, mince pies – the lot.’
Anyone who would like to join the party but doesn’t have transport need not worry. Morrin said: ‘That can be arranged too. We have people who will go and collect them.
‘We have volunteer drivers and Maybury’s Coaches, here in Dunmanway, has also offered to provide a bus to collect people and bring them home again – which is one more example of the kindness and thoughtfulness of our community.’
It’s not just existing clients who will be made welcome on the day, Morrin Curtis said anyone who would like to check out the service is welcome to contact her at the resource centre on 023 8868110 to reserve their place at the table.