Help on the double­

By Mary Dennehy

THE community jumped aboard a donation drive held for homeless families and those struggling in their own homes this Christmas, filling a double-decker bus with donated items.

Last Saturday, December 14, a double-decker donation bus parked up on Level 3 of The Square shopping centre, with locals invited to donate items over a 12-hour drive.

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The bus filling up only a few hours into the collection

The collection was organised by A Helping Hand, the local volunteer group behind the Christmas Day dinner for the homeless in Tallaght.

The items donated will be made into hampers for families living in emergency accommodation, some of whom have already signed up for the Christmas Day dinner.

Hampers will also be delivered to families struggling to provide Christmas in their own homes.

Last year, hampers, meat vouchers and toys were delivered to 285 families, helping them to celebrate Christmas together at home.

Last Saturday, the community showed its support for families struggling this Christmas by loading a double-decker bus, top and bottom deck, with donations of non-perishable foods, toiletries, cereals, biscuits, cakes, selection boxes, minerals and new clothes, gifts and toys.

Speaking with The Echo, Councillor Dermot Richardson, one of the founders of the Christmas Day dinner and A Helping Hand, said: “We had a great reaction from the community, people were very helpful and supportive.

“People were so generous donating clothes, toys, food . . . and everything was new.

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Calum Foley, Naimh Whelan, Cllr Dermot Richardson and Katrina O’Mara from A Helping Hand

“We’d also like to thank The Square for giving us a great spot to park on Level 3, lots of people passed us on their way into The Square.”

This week volunteers will start making hampers for both families in emergency accommodation and those at home.

According to Cllr Richardson, hampers will be delivered to families right across South Dublin County – with hampers also going to local projects like Saoirse Refuge and CARP in Killinarden, which is also working with families in need.

Toys will also be laid out for children at the Christmas Day dinner in Kids Zone on December 25 to choose from.

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The bus at the end of the day (pic: Helping Hand) 

Thanks have been extended to The Square shopping centre for its support last Saturday and to Maughan’s coach hire for donating the bus.

Everybody who turned up on the day, including County Mayor Vicki Casserly, comedian June Rogers and Cllr Charlie O’Connor, have also been thanked for the showing of support.

Cllr Richardson has encouraged homeless individuals and families who would like to come to the three-course Christmas Day dinner to make contact.

Call 087 2036468 to attend the Christmas Day dinner.

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