WEXFORD TURNS OUT IN FORCE FOR THE HOMELESS

Deirdre Buggy, on left, and two volunteers from Wexford town.
Deirdre Buggy, on left, and two volunteers from Wexford town.

The spirit of Christmas was alive and well in Glynn Parish hall on Christmas Day as a collective of ordinary people and members of various local action groups collaborated to put on a Christmas dinner with all the trimmings for the homeless, alone, and those in crisis.

Backed by huge support from local Wexford business in conjunction with a massive response from across County Wexford through various collections in Wexford, Enniscorthy, Gorey and New Ross, the team of volunteers were busy gathering donations of food, clothing, gifts, vouchers and money from the start of November all the way through to Christmas week.

Volunteers Ronan Buggy and Claire Malone said this was a simple idea conjured up over a cup of tea one summer's afternoon by some like-minded neighbours who wanted to do something to help those less fortunate than themselves.

'That idea transformed into a plan of action towards the end of October, and became a reality thanks to the generosity of Glynn Parish Priest Fr Pat Stafford and the committee of the Glynn Parish Hall, who offered to open the doors of the hall to the initiative on Christmas day,' said Ronan.

Members of Wexford Housing Action Group also volunteered to help, and their knowledge of the homeless situation and those in need along with assistance provided towards fund raising, collecting, distributing and setting up the hall for the Dinner deserves particular praise.

Thanks go to Aislinn Wallace, Gary and Nikki 'O Brien & Bianca 'O Grady from the Group for organising volunteers, collection points and much more. Volunteers came from as far away as Galway, with one couple driving all the way to Glynn on Christmas morning to help out before returning to Galway at 6 p.m.

The day was a huge success, with 62 meals being served in total. All guests who attended the hall were well fed, and volunteers kindly delivered dinners to those who were unable to come on the day.

Local taxi driver John Furlong kindly donated his time to deliver guests to the dinner party from Wexford. Literally hundreds of donated gifts were wrapped and given out to kids and families over Christmas Eve and at the Dinner.

Such were the contributions of food given there was an excess, and this was redistributed to the Women's Refuge and Ozanam House in Wexford town after the party on Christmas day. Over 50 large food hampers were made up and handed out over Christmas week, all going to people who found themselves in dire need in the run up to the holidays.

There were some cameo appearances at the Dinner to provide entertainment for the guests, when Councillor Deirdre Wadding and her Indian medicine drum formed a duet with son Tuan on fiddle to provide some Christmas songs and traditional music, even the guests themselves joined in with a ditty or two of their own to add to the homely atmosphere created for the day.

Some of the reactions from guests and volunteers brought tears to the eye, with one homeless guest seen thanking a volunteer for serving him, as that kind of thing didn't normally happen to people like him.

Children played happily as parents swapped phone numbers, offering support to total strangers who were going through similar troubles.

The conversations flowed, the craic was mighty and everybody left with a grin on their face, one lady who was there said it was the first time in her life she enjoyed Christmas day.

The organisers have a long list of people and businesses they would like to thank, the full of which is far too long to publish here, but the full list can be found on their events page on facebook

Wexford People