Lord Mayor Backs Christmas Family Appeal

Belfast's Lord Mayor Alderman Frank McCoubrey has backed a Christmas Family Appeal by the Salvation Army and St Vincent de Paul with Education Authority.

The appeal has been helping struggling families celebrate Christmas for 40 years and this year's appeal with Education Authority 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 years. This Christmas, due to Covid-19, the Education Authority is encouraging online donations.

Lord Mayor of Belfast, Alderman Frank McCoubrey said: "2020 has been a challenging year for us all as we've faced down the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic with many families filled with worry as we move into the mouth of Christmas. This year's Family Appeal is a shining light in these uncertain times and will offer crucial support to those most in need during the festive period. One small donation could bring some much needed Christmas cheer to children and families across Northern Ireland. The impact of this fantastic initiative cannot be underestimated and I have no doubt the compassion and generosity of the people of Belfast and beyond will come to the fore in helping to support this appeal."

Keira Wood from The Salvation Army also 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.
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"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."

Elizabeth Quinn from 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."

Robbie McGreevy, Assistant Director of Corporate HR at the Education Authority said: "The Education Authority is delighted to be involved again to support the Christmas Family Appeal. The Appeal may have changed due to the pandemic this year but the local need has not. In fact we know the need is actually greater.

"This Appeal is so important to meet the needs of tens of thousands of children in Northern Ireland who live in poverty and deserve to receive a present to open this Christmas. Last year we raised thousands of physical presents in what was a fantastic endeavour which truly captured the generosity and kindness of EA staff. 

"EA remains committed to doing our part to support this Appeal in this amended format. This support continues to complement our EA Health and Wellbeing Strategy, providing an opportunity for our staff to give back to those families most in need within the local community. Over the next few weeks we will be encouraging all our staff to support this appeal by donating online."

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