Cyprus Mail
Cyprus

A festive meal for Nicosia’s homeless

The old market in Nicosia will be the venue for the meal

One woman is determined to provide “a warm full tummy” for refugees and the homeless in Nicosia in the run up for Christmas.

Rosie Charalambous, one of the founders of charity Cans for Kids, is organising a Christmas dinner for vulnerable groups on December 20 at the old municipal market in Nicosia’s old city.

“I have never done anything like that before, but I don’t like the commercialisation of Christmas. It should be about sharing and giving love,” she said about the reason for her decision to put together the meal.

The location was chosen as the area around the ‘agora’ is where many of the refugees and asylum seekers live, and it will be right on their doorstep.

After figuring out what is needed, Rosie is now looking for volunteers to help and for sponsors.

“We need volunteers to serve, clear up, refill and also talk to people who are lonely and impoverished,” she said.

“We are aiming at around 100 people, hoping this is not too many and not too few,” she said about her potential guests.

Up to now, she has found two drinks sponsors, Zambartas and Lanitis, and a large supermarket may provide much of the ingredients for the food free of charge, items which would be distributed to the volunteering cooks.

The food will be a traditional turkey meal with vegetarian and even vegan options, choices which came up after the organiser first broached her idea on Facebook.

Within minutes, people responded online, saying it was a great idea, and offered to help in various ways.

As there is no kitchen at the market, the food needs to be prepared by the volunteers at their homes. Each of them will be given an amount to prepare that they can handle, such as a few kilos of potatoes to roast in an oven. They will then bring the food to the venue where it will be kept warm – Rosie is hoping to get her hands on some dishes used in hotels for that purpose – after the volunteers deliver it.

To avoid the use of plastic, some donated cutlery will be used, and paper plates and cups.

There is more to the event than food and drinks. Rosie hopes to drum up some live music, one of the many things which still need to be finalised. If it does not become available, some other music will be arranged, the seasoned organiser said.

Some toys have been donated, which will be placed in a box so the kids can dig around and find themselves a present. But more are needed and readers of this article are welcome to supply those.

Helpers are asked to arrive at 5pm on the day to arrange chairs and tables, and the guests are expected between 6pm and 7pm. The serving of the food will last until around 8.30pm.

And how will the refugees and homeless get to know about what is in store for them? Nearer the time flyers will be handed out in the area, and the Nicosia municipality multi-purpose centre, where many of these vulnerable groups spend their time, will also be informed.

Volunteers may contact Rosie by phone at 99-666011. At a later date details about the event will be announced on the Cans for Kids Facebook page.

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