True spirit of Christmas to be found in Tallaght today as local restaurant gets ready to welcome homeless

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“Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart. ” – Washington Irving

The Blazin’ Grill in Belgard Square will open their doors to homeless families this afternoon for Christmas dinner in a wonderful act of kindness.

The restaurant has been working with Focus Ireland for the last few months to give families in emergency accommodation a chance to enjoy Christmas day.

Restaurant manager Christian Murdoch from Killinarden said they are offering a three-course meal  with soup as a starter followed by a main course of turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, vegetables and gravy and dessert will be apple pie for the adults and chocolate brownies for the children and puddings to take home as well.

“We want them to know there’s somewhere they can go. We don’t want to see people out on the streets on Christmas Day. It’s awful at any time of the year but especially at Christmas. We’ve given them an invitation and we can only hope that they can accept it.

“When they come in, there won’t be people fussing over them. It will be quite relaxed. We want to make it as enjoyable as possible.

“Transport has been organised for them and once they arrive and get settled we’ll serve the starter and then the main course.

“We’ll also be screening a Christmas movie that everyone can enjoy with their dessert and we’ll have a little stand with sweets and snacks for the children.”

Christian, who also volunteers with St Vincent de Paul, assistant manager Tanya McCabe and owners Lee and Stephen McCabe have been working for the past four months to get everything right. He said the entire staff have been excellent and it was no problem getting them to give up their Christmas day to come in and work today.

“We have such a great team and the easy part was getting them to come in, they all kindly agreed. We know it’s a special day and everyone has things to do but the staff were behind the plans all the way. There will be two shifts from 12-3 and 3 to closing. There’s a great team spirit here.

Christian said the response from the entire community has also been overwhelming. Local businesses have contributed and everyone who comes for dinner today will leave with a hamper plus the children will get goody bags.

“It just goes to show once again how strong the community spirit is in Tallaght. So many people have been ringing us asking if we needed anything or if they could help in any way.

“We’ve been given so many gifts that we might put some of them on a stand so people can help themselves. We’ve stuffed the goody bags with fun things for the children, we want to give them things that they’d not normally pick up themselves.”

Christian says he hopes they draw attention to the homeless problem in Ireland and they have plans to do more charity work in the new year.

“This day is about raising awareness of the crisis of homelessness in this country at the moment. We can’t solve the problem but we can make a gesture. We have more things planned for January with the money that has been raised by all the different charities,” he said.