By Susan Gately - 28 December, 2018
Before people start looking for gift receipts to exchange unwanted presents, Crosscare, the social care agency of the Archdiocese of Dublin, is asking them to consider donating them to Dublin’s homeless.
Staff at St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral in Dublin are urging people not to return or store up unwanted gifts this week – but to bring them to the Pro-Cathedral, where staff will collect them for the agency.
Gifts left at the cathedral between now and 6 January 2019 will be redistributed throughout the year to people in Crosscare’s homeless services and family hub.
On Christmas day, hundreds of people without families or friends to spend Christmas with received gifts that were unwanted and donated this time last year.
“This simple idea has grown over the years and it is such a pleasure for our staff to be able to bring that small bit of extra cheer to people in our services who struggle at this time of the year,” said Michael McDonagh from Crosscare, who thanked Fr Kieran McDermott and the staff of the Pro-Cathedral for the extra effort that goes into the Unwanted Gifts Appeal at what is one of the busiest times of the year for them.
Over Christmas, Crosscare staff worked hard supporting homeless people in their six residential services, which this year includes the hub for families in Drumcondra. Their services range from emergency accommodation to short-term housing with support services to help people make the transition to finding and keeping their own home.
“Unfortunately, demand for our services continued to increase throughout 2018,” said Michael McDonagh, who expressed his thanks to the parishioners of the Archdiocese of Dublin for their extraordinary generosity at the start of the month, when an incredible 60 tonnes of non-perishable food was collected for distribution to families in need at Christmas.
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin launched the appeal on the first weekend in December. As a result, Crosscare was able to distribute hampers consisting of 24,000 meals for people in need. Around 120 volunteers helped sort the food collected from parishes in Crosscare’s main foodbank in Glasnevin, ensuring hampers were delivered to families on time.
Unwanted presents can be brought to the crib in the Pro-Cathedral until 6 January. Today, Friday 28 December, the cathedral is open from 10.00 a.m. until approximately 4.00 p.m. On Saturday 29 December, it opens at 8.45 a.m. until approximately 7 p.m. On Sunday 30 December the cathedral is open from 8.45 a.m. until approximately 7 p.m. and on New Year’s Eve, 31 December, from 10.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m.
From Tuesday 1 Jan, the cathedral resumes its normal opening times. Sunday 6 January, the Feast of the Epiphany, will be the last day members of the public can drop off unwanted gifts at the crib.