Sunday, December 28, 2008

Dublin's Pro Cathedral appeals for unwanted gifts for homeless

If you are wondering what to do with the jumper that didn’t fit; the fancy soaps that aren’t needed or the DVD you had already had – staff at St. Mary’s Pro Cathedral in Dublin can put your unwanted Christmas gifts to good use.

For the fourth year in a row, the Cathedral staff and Crosscare are urging people not to change, store or dump unwanted presents but to bring them to the crib in the cathedral where they will be given to people who may have received nothing this year.

Last year the response to the appeal was tremendous – with thousands of gifts – all in excellent condition brought to the Pro Cathedral in the days after Christmas.

In all 18 vanloads of presents were collected by Crosscare, the social care agency of the Dublin Diocese. Crosscare gave out hundreds of gifts to men and women in their homeless shelters.

They received enough to hold gifts for this year; leaving them in a position to give presents in time for Christmas this year.

What was then left over was sold in Crosscare’s, Blanchardstown service and the money given back to their homeless service for essential supplies.

Fr. Pat O’ Donoghue, who started the campaign four years ago said the response has been overwhelming; “It is incredible that we spend so much time and effort buying gifts and spending hard earned money, and yet we end up giving each other way over and above what is actually needed, or wanted, this way, at least both the givers and receivers can be assured that their time and money ends up being put to good use and we can bring some solace to people in society who find themselves without a home or a family,”

Conor Hickey, director of Crosscare, said the staff in the Homeless service were facing a busy year ahead and already, were seeing an increase in the numbers of people turning up at shelters.

He said it was a joy to staff to be able to give out gifts to people who really appreciated it this Christmas – and the money raised by the sale of the gifts left over would be needed more than ever in 2009.

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Sotto Voce

(Source: CIN)