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Dining in Dublin

05 September 2014

SINCE February, the Dining Room has been open in the church hall at Christ Church, Dun Laoghaire, in Dublin diocese, where they serve hot lunches three days a week to homeless people, the elderly, and the lonely.

It was the Rector, the Revd Ása Björk Ólafsdóttir, who realised the need for it, almost as soon as she arrived in the parish in January 2013. "I started to see homeless people. The word got out that there was a new vicar, and people started to come looking for food - I always feed people if they are hungry," she says. "Then I spoke to someone who had started a bus that came to Dun Laoghaire on Monday evenings, bringing soup and sandwiches. I went along and started bringing pasta bolognese, but I still knew I had to do something more."

There was already a homeless shelter in the town where clients received food in the mornings and evenings, but they had to leave after breakfast, and had nowhere to go. So Ms Ólafsdóttir began to consider opening a drop-in centre that would offer both company and a hot midday meal. She also thought that it might help those suffering from addictions.

The Select Vestry of her church agreed that their church hall could be used three times a week, and they are now feeding up to 40 people each time.

There is a rota of 50 volunteers, from several different churches, and the food comes from different sources. Some of it is bought with donations, some donated from supermarkets. One donor offered a regular consignment of chicken fillets, with a freezer to put them in. Now the Centre takes donations of second-hand clothes and blankets.

Ms Ólafsdóttir believes that the next stage is to find premises where the Dining Room can be open six days a week, and can provide shower and laundry facilities, as well as the possibility of an occupational therapist.

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