Christmas Day dinner for the homeless at RDS cancelled for the first time in nearly 100 years
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Christmas Day dinner for the homeless at RDS cancelled for the first time in nearly 100 years

CHRISTMAS DAY DINNER for the homeless at the Royal Dublin Society (RDS) has been cancelled for the first time in almost a century due to Covid-19.

The annual tradition started 96 years ago, and would typically see around 500 homeless people in the local community attend.

But the pandemic has sadly put a spanner in the works this year.

Despite this though, the Knights of Columbanus - a Catholic charity who organise the initiative - have come up with a fabulous alternative.

They will instead host take-away hot Christmas dinners from a mobile kitchen in the Mansion House forecourt on Christmas Day, in keeping with public health guidelines.

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Volunteers are aiming to provide around 3,000 Christmas dinners for the needy and will have some delivered to homes by partners such as St Vincent de Paul, Alone, Dublin Simon Community and Dublin City Council.

"Because this year is so exceptionally different, the Knights are planning an alternative approach," a charity spokesperson said.

"They hope that these plans will go a long way to alleviating the need of many over the few days of Christmas, but noted that even these arrangements are subject to changes in restrictions or guidelines which be in place over Christmas.

"Predominantly there is a higher number of people sleeping rough in November and December which is why there's such a big demand for our services," the spokesperson added.

"Unfortunately, it has been very challenging for us to operate under Level Five restrictions. The Christmas Day dinners at the RDS have always been a great institution over the years and something that we all look forward to.

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"I think it's more important than ever to help those in direct poverty as they feel like they've been neglected during this pandemic.

"I'm sure something as simple as a Christmas dinner will make the world of difference in helping to lift their spirits during these very difficult times."