Play centre to open its doors on Christmas day for homeless kids

LOUISE WALSH

A big-hearted play centre in Meath is opening its doors on Christmas day and offering festive dinner to children in emergency accommodation. 

Lisa Donaghy and Anthony Briody from the Ark Playcentre at Pudden Hill in Garristown, Co. Meath are inviting homeless families to the centre for a full three course Christmas day dinner and few hours play on December 25th

The meal is being kindly donated by other local businesses who readily rowed in behind the generous idea.

Lisa was hoping to keep the kind act private but a shout out for transport left her 'mortified' when the couple's goodwill gesture viral across social media

"It was just an idea we had during the summer and many of our staff have jumped on board and offered to volunteer on the day as well as many of our family and friends.

"We are a play centre and love to see kids smiling but we are normally closed on Christmas day.  We are always hearing about kids and families who are in hotel rooms and on the streets.

"Living in a hotel room is difficult on any day but trying to get a Christmas dinner for your children must be a nightmare in such a confined space.

"Here the children can run off steam in the centre while the parents relax for a few hours.

"The community here have been amazing and are constantly on the phone to see if they can help.

"Tribe restaurant in Duleek have kindly agreed to provide and cook the turkeys and hams, Meade potatoes have given all the vegetables while Millbrook foods and Value centre in Navan are donating desserts,  minerals and treats.

"Only last night, I got a call from Michael Murray & Sons in Duleek who have offered the transport needed to get people here and back on the day.

"We have 100 seats available and already families are coming from all across Meath and Louth including Drogheda, Dundalk and Duleek.

"I would welcome anyone who needs a bit of a break on this day to ring me as soon as possible.  On Christmas Day itself, the families will have complete anonymity and there'll be no pictures or anything like that taken.  We will guarantee total privacy and respect to the families and their children. 

"I just need to know numbers so I can organise the food so if anyone would like to come, please ring me on 087 391 0807"

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