- Belfast Giants join sports stars to back major Belfast #ChristmasAppeal2020.
- Sports stars call on public to ‘become a Secret Santa’ to local families by donating food, toiletries, toys and gifts at a range of donation points across the city.
- The SSE Arena, Belfast will act as a central hub, where hundreds of volunteers will pack over 2,500 food hampers, along with toys and gifts for families in need.
The Stena Line Belfast Giants are joining a host of local sports stars, community partners, groups and schools to back a major cross community initiative to provide food hampers, toys and gifts to families in need across the city this Christmas.
North Belfast Advice Partnership and The People’s Kitchen Belfast, working in partnership with a range of community groups and charities across city, are spearheading the #ChristmasAppeal2020 initiative. With the support of hundreds of volunteers, the appeal aims to provide much needed support to over 2,500 families across Belfast this Christmas.
Through no fault of their own, many families will not be able to provide the Christmas celebrations they would like in 2020. It has been an extremely difficult year, as many workers and families have suffered loss of income or employment due to the pandemic, leading to a rapid change of circumstances.
Over the past few years, North Belfast Advice Partnership and The People’s Kitchen have supported local families and individuals with benefit and debt advice, food parcels, homeless support and hot meals. Following the onset of the pandemic, both organisations have seen a huge surge in demand for their services, as poverty levels across the city soar.
The Belfast Giants, supported by The Odyssey Trust will put their weight behind the initiative, providing complimentary use of The SSE Arena, Belfast for the next month, to help the organisation scale up its operation for 2020. From next week until the end of December, The SSE Arena, Belfast will become a central hub for the packing and distribution of bespoke Christmas food hampers and Santa sacks for families across Belfast.
Other core partners supporting the initiative include Cliftonville FC, Crusaders FC, Unite the Union, Newington Housing Association, Radius Association, community and voluntary sector groups and schools across the city. Local boxers, Paddy Barnes, Michael Conlan and Tommy McCarthy and GAA All Star, Jane Adams are amongst other well-known faces lending their support to the initiative.
The Belfast Giants, in collaboration with sports stars and partners across the city, are calling on the public to ‘become a Secret Santa’ to local families that are facing into one of the toughest festive seasons ever. Donations of food, toiletries, toys and gifts can be made over the coming weeks to a range of donation points across the city. An army of volunteers will then create bespoke hampers matched to specific families’ needs.
Sinead McKinley, North Belfast Advice Partnership Coordinator said: “Many families will not be able to provide the Christmas celebrations they would like this year. Many are facing a very difficult winter, having experienced significant loss of income or employment. No one chooses to live in poverty, and it can happen to absolutely anyone.
“The stark reality for many people is that they are only really ever a few pay cheques away from finding themselves in difficulty. This has been exacerbated by the pandemic; we could never have predicted or prepared for public health and economic crisis of this scale. Working with People’s Kitchen Belfast and our community partners across the city, we aim to relieve the pressure from families this Christmas by providing bespoke food hampers and gifts to families that need help. The support of our local sports stars and use of The SSE Arena, Belfast will help us to support even more families this year.”
Commenting on the launch of the initiative, Adam Keefe, head coach of the Belfast Giants said: “The Belfast Giants and the SSE Arena, Belfast are proud to support this vital #ChristmasAppeal2020. This has been an incredibly challenging year for a lot of local families. We can’t make everything better but by coming together, we can hopefully help make things just a little bit easier over the holidays. We are calling on our fans and friends to do what they can to help local families in need this Christmas by making a donation of food, vouchers, gifts or toys at official donation points throughout the city over the coming weeks.”