The First Minister and deputy First Minister have lent their support to the Salvation Army and St Vincent de Paul Christmas Family Appeal.
The appeal has been helping struggling families celebrate Christmas for 40 years and this year’s appeal will help those families in our communities facing impossible choices. The Christmas Family Appeal has benefited from the enormous generosity of the public who have donated thousands of toys in previous. This Christmas, due to Covid-19, the general public are being encouraged to make a donation online at https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/ChristmasFamilyAppeal
First Minister Arlene Foster said: “I am delighted to be able to help launch this year’s Christmas Family Appeal.
“Christmas is a time of giving, of sharing and helping others and this has never been more important.
“The devastating impact of Covid-19 has brought real hardship to many homes. Too many parents and carers are feeling real stress and anxiety about affording the basics of heat and light, never mind putting presents under the tree.
“Over the last 40 years the kind and generous people of Northern Ireland have supported this appeal and the amazing work of The Salvation Army and St Vincent de Paul. I would urge everyone to do so again this year and help to make sure that no child wakes up without a gift on Christmas morning.”
The deputy First Minister, Michelle O’Neill said: “This year has been hugely challenging for everyone, particularly those who are vulnerable or in need. The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated many of the problems in our society and too many families are facing serious hardship and difficult choices this Christmas.
“We want all of our children and young people to wake up on Christmas morning and have a present to open, especially this year when many family budgets have been hit hard.
“I have no doubt that the kind and generous spirit of our people will shine through once again and that the donations received will help to support many families and put smiles on the faces of thousands of children.
“The Salvation Army and St Vincent de Paul do amazing work, and I’m only too happy to lend my support to this year’s Christmas Family Appeal.”
Major Paul Kingscott, the Salvation Army’s divisional leader, said: “As a church and charity, we are inspired by the Christmas message to reach out to families in need with presents for children who might otherwise miss out on the joy and hope of this time of year.
“Through our frontline work in towns across Northern Ireland, we have seen first-hand the impact of the pandemic on the families we support. That’s why we look forward to working with our good friends at St Vincent de Paul again to bring Christmas cheer to children and young people who might otherwise go without.
“The Family Appeal relies on the incredible generosity of the public and businesses, as well as the support of our dedicated volunteers. We know this year has been difficult for so many but we ask that people continue to support the Family Appeal and help us make a difference this Christmas.”
Mary Waide, Regional President for St Vincent de Paul, said: “Traditionally a time of hope, for some families we support this time of year is filled with worry and dread. These feelings have been heightened with the impact of the pandemic and while we are all considering a different kind of Christmas this year, some families will be faced with impossible choices. The choice of heating their home or putting presents under the tree. The choice of buying Christmas dinner or new clothes for their children.
“Rather than leaving families to struggle with these decisions alone, we want every child in Northern Ireland to enjoy the magic of Christmas by finding a gift under the tree on Christmas morning. Online donations made to the Christmas Family Appeal this year will be converted into gift vouchers empowering parents and guardians to choose gifts themselves.”
Help The Salvation Army and St Vincent de Paul ensure that children enjoy the magic of Christmas by donating to the Family Appeal today, https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/ChristmasFamilyAppeal