Christmas joy for the lonely of Letterkenny
For a variety of circumstances, Christmas Day can a lonely experience for many in the community. But thanks to the initiative and commitment of a team of volunteers in the Letterkenny area, it has become a day of joy and sharing.
Over the past five years, Kathy O'Connor and her helpers have hosted a special dinner in the local Community Centre where those who would otherwise be alone are treated to several hours of food and festive fare.
This year, a total of 46 tasty dinners were served up and despite the atrocious weather conditions, the volunteers not alone turned up but helped some of the patrons to get there too.
"We had a man come from Gartan for the dinner and two others from Kilmacrenan who the helpers collected and brought to the Community Centre.
"The whole thing went very well - it was a great success," said Kathy who originally came up with the idea for a Christmas Day dinner.
The dinner was moved into the big hall of the Community Centre and apart from the turkey and ham, there was entertainment in the form of C.D.'s and some live music. "The only thing is we'll need a a P.A. system for next year. We're also planning to have dancing to help the atmosphere along."
Among the attendance were two Polish immigrants. "We also had people who had moved to Letterkenny from Kerry and Limerick and couldn't go home for Christmas. For everybody concerned it was a great day including those who came for the dinner and those who were helping out," Kathy maintained.
"We had the most magnificent helpers - they have always been there for us. I want to pay tribute to them and to the drivers who brought the people to the Centre in the most difficult of circumstances. All these people helped on on the day and then went home to have their own Christmas dinner."
Kathy also acknowledged the involvement of the Community Centre, under manager Liam O'Donnell, and the Letterkenny Chamber.