For over 40 years The Salvation Army has been helping those families that are the most vulnerable and in the most need within our communities, and this year more than ever they are looking your support as they officially launch this year’s Family Appeal.
Launching the appeal across the Causeway Coast & Glens area yesterday (Thursday, November 19), the Salvation Army’s Lt Tim & Major Jane-Marie Cook were joined by Anne Irwin from St Vincent De Paul and the Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Alderman Mark Fielding.
In previous years The Salvation Army collected and distributed thousands of toys to families around the UK, but this year things will be a little bit different due to the current pandemic and the restrictions in place.
However, to minimise the risk due to COVID-19, the local Salvation Army group are hoping to distribute gift vouchers to the families that have been referred to them by health and other professional agencies.
Launching this years local family appeal, Major Jane-Marie has said: “Every year we see an increase in need however this year we know the appeal will be a lifeline for many families who perhaps have had a member of their family furloughed, made redundant or even had an illness in the family.
“All these things put extra pressure on people. We hope to be able to provide a little light into their situations this Christmas”.
The family appeal this year has also been given the support of the First & Deputy First Ministers, with Arlene Foster saying that she is: “Delighted to be able to help launch this year’s Family Appeal”.
Continuing the First Minister went on to say: “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 spoke of the challenges faced by families: “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.
Mrs O’Neill praised both Salvation Army and St Vincent de Paul for their work, concluding: “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.”
If you would like more information about the appeal, how you can donate gift vouchers or to make a monetary donation please contact The Salvation Army via their Facebook page, email on email@example.com or phone 028 276 69138.
Concluding Lt Tim Cooks had this message: “God bless you all and every little bit helps make a difference in our local community.”