Volunteer Teresa Delaney and Fr Seamus Enright, rector of the Redemptorists, at the launch of their Christmas Hamper Appeal Picture: Michael Cowhey
IN THE weeks to come, many families will be busy wrapping presents for their loved ones.
But there are many other families who will be relying on the generosity of others to put a few gifts under the Christmas tree – and more crucially, food on the table.
Again this year, some 7,000 food hampers will be distributed to those in need across Limerick city and county in the run-up to Christmas.
Fr Seamus Enright, rector of the Redemptorists at Mount St Alphonsus, told the Limerick Leader that hampers worth in excess of €120,000 were distributed in Limerick last year, and they would hope that people’s generosity could see the same level distributed this Christmas.
The religious order, which works on this campaign in association with St Vincent de Paul, is now ready to collect donations from people for the hampers. People can give non-perishable dry foods, cash, or toys for children.
“It’s a big undertaking, but people have always been very generous to us. A lady called in recently to donate toys, and brought her children to Smyth’s toystore first to get them to pick out the gifts for others that they would like to receive themselves,” said Fr Enright.
Donations can now be dropped into the office attached to the church, or to SVP, which distributes the packages, on Hartstonge Street.
Novas, which supports homeless people and those at risk of becoming homeless, is urging Limerick restaurants and hotels to support families in B&B accommodation with hot meals.
The appeal, from Novas’ Intensive Family Support Service on Mungret Street, comes as approximately 15 families reside in hotels and B&Bs around the city and county every night, accounting for 22 adults and 26 children.
Clare Brooks, manager of the service, observed the spike in families seeking support in the last 24 months. She said that the greatest problem is the dearth of supply in the private rented market.
“Our volunteers will pick these meals up and deliver them to the families directly, so businesses that get involved in the appeal don’t have to worry about that side of things,” she said. Any interested businesses can contact 061 468033.
Meanwhile, those in charge of the Team Hope Christmas shoebox appeal are delighted they have finally found an unit to accept goods and pack them for overseas. From Wednesday next, November 9, they will take in donations and shoeboxes filled with goods at Unit F3, Limerick Enterprise Development Park, Roxboro Road. The warehouse will be open each weekday from 10am til 9pm until Friday, November 25.
The shoeboxes can be filled with small gifts – bearing the four Ws – something to wash with, something to wear, something to write it, and something to ‘Wow’ the recipient – even a small cuddly toy, which will fit in the box. They hope that 12,000 boxes of gifts will be sent to children in war-torn and impoverished countries again this year.