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Christmas charity dinner caters to some 2,000 guests

The Hursti Association organises special seasonal events for the homeless, impoverished and lonely in Helsinki on an annual basis.

The Hursti foundation's Christmas dinner for underprivileged citizens was held in the Helsinki Expo and Convention Centre. Image: Ari Mölsä / Yle

On Christmas Eve, some 2,000 underprivileged citizens gathered to the Helsinki Expo and Convention Centre for a sit-down dinner organised by the Veikko and Lahja Hursti’s Charitable Association. The foundation is a Finnish Christian charity started in the 1960s by the renowned Finnish social activist Veikko Hursti.

Heikki Hursti, who is carrying on the family tradition of caring for society's less fortunate, said the event showed another side of Finland.

Heikki Hursti. Image: Ari Mölsä / Yle

“Even Finland has poverty. This year we’ve seen working people who struggle to make ends meet join us,” Hursti said. 

Last year, even President Sauli Niinistö joined the festivities. This year the President sent a heartfelt greeting to guests.

In addition to a warm Christmas meal, participants also got to take home a bag of food supplies.

“Everyone should have the possibility to enjoy a Christmas meal and celebration,” Hursti sums.