Team Hope: Limerick students pack Christmas shoeboxes for homeless

Maria Flannery

Reporter:

Maria Flannery

Some of the students from Coláiste Chiaráin, Croom, who were involved in the making of shoebox gifts for the homeless

Some of the students from Coláiste Chiaráin, Croom, who were involved in the making of shoebox gifts for the homeless

CHRISTMAS is the time of year when we tend to dig a bit deeper to give to those less fortunate.

One of the festive season’s most popular drives, the Team Hope shoebox appeal, delivers little boxes of pure joy to children living in poverty-stricken countries across the globe.

And an inspired Limerick school has decided to adapt that idea to help those closer to home — homeless adults in Limerick.

At Coláiste Chiaráin in Croom, the first years, aided by some Leaving Cert Applied and fourth year students, have already packed more than 20 boxes for the homeless in Limerick. The staff members also made significant contributions.

The project follows the template of the shoebox appeal for children abroad, that is usually done in the primary schools.

But this initiative asks for items suitable for adults, that can then be boxed and distributed to the homeless locally. The boxes include toiletries, hats, scarves and gloves, topped up with some chocolate and a Christmas card.

The appeal was confined to first year students, as it is a good continuation of the Christmas shoebox habit they formed at primary school, said deputy principal Gerard O’Sullivan.

The initiative is just one of many fundraising drives that the students engage in as part of their pastoral care programme.

One of the Materials Technology teachers, Mr Padraig McGarry, also guided a group of teachers and students in the creation — in wood — of 43 decorative baby reindeer and one adult sized reindeer.

“This work was completed in the evenings after school, and a huge amount of dedication was involved,” said Mr O’Sullivan.

All of the reindeer were adorned with hand crocheted scarves, courtesy of Betty Morrissey. The money raised is due to be donated to Focus Ireland and St Vincent de Paul, Croom.

The pupils also held a bake sale and Christmas craft sale, as well as carol singing at Caherass Nursing Home this Thursday, December 14.

In all, around €2,000 is expected to be collected, and 25 shoeboxes will be donated to Novas and Thomond House.

“Congratulations to all students, their parents and the staff in Coláiste Chiaráin for entering into the festive spirit in such a generous way,” said Mr O’Sullivan.