By Gina Agapiou
Last year’s festive dinner for the needy in Nicosia proved so successful that organisers of the event have decided to offer it again this year.
“I wasn’t planning to do it this Christmas but a food sponsor from last year emailed me asking if we will need help so I said ‘Let’s do it’,” one of the organisers of last year’s event, Rosie Charalambous, told the Sunday Mail.
Last year’s Christmas dinner for “the hungry, the needy, the homeless and the refugees” took place at the old municipal market (agora) in Nicosia but this has now closed down, but Rita Severis who runs the Centre of Visual Arts and Research (CVAR) in old Nicosia “came to the rescue by offering CVAR’s coffeeshop for the dinner on December 20”, Charalambous said.
Charalambous, a cofounder of the Cans For Kids children’s charity, spoke about the inspiration behind her initiative and last year’s dinner experience for both volunteers and guests.
“I was lying in bed one night thinking about what Christmas is all about, and it is really not about consuming. Consumerism is appalling both for humans and for the environment,” she said.
“For me Christmas is about sharing and giving.”
Before she went to sleep that night, she posted her idea on social media, asking if anyone would be interested in helping with the arrangements. By the morning the post had multiple replies and such a positive reaction.
Over 40 people offered to help last year and some of them had to be turned down.
“Volunteers got more out of it than the diners. The simple act of bringing some salad or donating a few hours of your time to help others, being there and listening to them makes you feel incredible,” she said.
“One teacher who volunteered last year asked from all the children of her class to make one toy each to give to children who attended the dinner,” the organiser said.
Also crucial was the help from sponsors such as Alpha Mega who offered many vouchers so the unpaid chefs could purchase the ingredients for free.
Last year they fed around 50 people, but Charalambous cannot estimate how many they will attend this year.
“I will print out flyers and put in the old part of town, friends shared the event through social media which helps spreading the news through word of mouth.”
This year’s Christmas menu includes meatballs, bulgur, potatoes, salad, vegetable-cheese bake and for dessert honey pies and cake.
Charalambous is still looking for someone to buy and cook the turkey or chicken. No pork will be on the menu.
“We don’t want to offend anyone,” she explained.
The serving will start at 6pm and will finish at 8.30pm. Dancing is expected after the meal!
Anyone who wants to pitch in and spread the festive spirit can contact Rosie Charalambous at 99 66 60 11 or on the Cans for Kids Facebook page.