THE Education Authority (EA) says it is delighted to support partner charities The Salvation Army and St Vincent de Paul’s annual Christmas Family Appeal.
This year they are encouraging online donations to help ensure that all children and young people enjoy the magic of Christmas.
Donations made to the Appeal will be converted into gift vouchers empowering parents and guardians to choose gifts themselves.
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,” said a spokesperson
Robbie McGreevy, EA Asst Director of Corporate HR, said: “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.
“Over the next few weeks we will be encouraging all our staff and schools to support this appeal by donating online.”
Speaking at the launch, Lord Mayor of Belfast, Alderman Frank McCoubrey, said: “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 people will come to the fore in helping to support this appeal.”
Keira Wood from The Salvation Army 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.
“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.”
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.”
If you would like to make a donation and leave a message for staff you can donate at: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROFundraiserPage?userUrl=EducationAuthority1&pageUrl=1