Give a little, it will mean so much to the recipients
Community worker with Kildare County Council, Carmel Cashin, is appealing to Kildare families across the county to start thinking about those less fortunate in advance of the 'festive' season spend.
Carmel is encouraging parents to include their children or teenagers in gathering Christmas gift boxes, which will be distributed to the Peter McVerry hubs in Athy and Prosperous, women's refuge centres in Co Kildare and Co Wicklow, along with gift boxes for the homeless.
"Christmas is a wonderful time for most families but it's also a very hard time for those who struggle financially, for the homeless and for adults and children who may be temporarily living in refuge centres. Santa may not be aware of recent moves or have the full list of families living in centres or on the streets".
Carmel, recently appointed Chair of Blessington Forum, is appealing for shoeboxes gift wrapped with treats and gifts inside for children, men and women, with the collection point at St Kevin’s Hall, Blessington from 11am-3.30pm on November 30, and later at the Square, in Blessington from 4.30pm-5.30pm.
"I'd like to add, what really touches me every year when we are gathering the gift boxes, is to see hand-written cards made and written by children to other children. This really extols the true meaning of Christmas, of celebrating kindness and goodness with one another.
"We are basically appealing for children's gift boxes which can entail a small toy, a selection box, some colouring books with pencils or markers, maybe a book and some little bits and bobs, it all has to fit into a shoe box. Wrap the box and lid separately, and maybe put a post-it on the lid indicating boy/girl aged x years." she said
Carmel continued: "We also ask for adults' gift boxes which go to refuge centres in counties Kildare and Wicklow, and to the homeless. For women, some toiletries, a little treat, maybe a hat and scarf or gloves, a book. For men, similarly, woolly hat and socks, a scarf, toiletries, chocolates.....
"No scratch cards please, no money and no razors. Be sure not to tape up the lids as we have to check there are no dangerous objects inside and that all goods are age appropriate."
Alternatively, if anyone wants to donate a sleeping bag instead of gift box, that would be most appreciated too.
"This is a good time to pick up a few bargains or unused gifts from last year, get your children involved and make up a few shoebox gifts now. You have no idea how much these gifts mean to the recipients, who are down on their luck for now, but appreciate being treated as a person and to be remembered amidst the madness of the festive season!" concluded Carmel.
Collection point is St Kevin's Hall, Blessington, on November 30, 11am-3.30pm and at the Square, Blessington from 4.30pm-5.30pm.. All support appreciated!