By editor - 05 January, 2013
A 30 foot by 20 foot room stands full of unwanted Christmas gifts ready for distribution to the underprivileged of Dublin following the diocese’s appeal for unwanted gifts which ends on 6th January
“There has been a great response again this year,” Olivia Joyce from Crosscare told CatholicIreland. “During the first couple of days last week, we thought it would be down because of the recession, but then the gifts started flowing in.”
The unwanted gifts initiative has been running for five years in Dublin diocese. Staff in St. Mary’s Pro Cathedral make space at the crib available to take in any unwanted gifts such as clothing, hats, scarves, toiletries or DVD’s. Each day members of the public drop in their gifts. Some are wrapped, others in bags.
“It is lovely to see children coming in wanting to share their surplus with a child who got little or nothing for Christmas,” Fr Damian O’Reilly, Administrator of the Pro Cathedral parish told CatholicIreland.
The gifts are taken into storage by Crosscare – the social care agency of the Dublin Diocese – which will distribute them as gifts to people in their homeless and residential projects.
“Some of the household goods are held for the homeless to help them when they set up in new accommodation,” said Ms Joyce from Crosscare.
Last year the response to the appeal was so generous, Crosscare was able to store hundreds of gifts for this Christmas and had as many left over to distribute in their Blanchardstown shop, raising funds which were used throughout the 2012.
Fr. Damian O Reilly said that despite the effort of many not to waste money in these difficult times, hundreds of presents will still languish unwanted in the bottom of wardrobes for the next twelve months and he invited people to leave those gifts at the crib at the Pro Cathedral, either today or tomorrow, feast of the Epiphany, when the initiative ends.
The Festival of Peoples, a colourful festival gathering people from Dublin of different ethnic cultures, was traditionally celebrated on the feast of the Epiphany, 6th January, but following the snow of 2010, the festival has now been moved to the feast of Pentecost Sunday, which will be celebrated this year on Sunday 19th May.
by Susan Gately