The Salvation Army and St Vincent de Paul (SVP) has kicked off its annual Christmas Family Appeal with the help of Northern Ireland football manager, Michael O’Neill MBE.
Running Until 18 December, the Family Appeal is aiming to provide 100,000 children in Northern Ireland with a present to open this Christmas. The charities are joined by Translink and U105 as they continue to support the Family Appeal through the ‘Stuff A Bus’ initiative.
In total, as part of the Family Appeal 2018, more than 50,000 gifts were distributed to families in need locally. The Salvation Army and SVP are hoping that this year’s annual festive appeal, now in its 40th year, will be the biggest ever, helping even more people in need this Christmas.
Northern Ireland boss Michael said: “I’m delighted to be here today and to support the Family Appeal. It’s a simple initiative with a fantastic impact. If you are able to donate a gift The Salvation Army and St Vincent de Paul will distribute these to truly transform Christmas morning for kids and families across Northern Ireland who unfortunately wouldn’t have much otherwise.”
The ‘Stuff a Bus’ appeal, now in its third year, needs the support from the public to help stuff a double decker bus with more than 20,000 presents. Purchasing just one extra gift could make a difference to a child’s life on Christmas morning. Thanks to the generosity of Translink customers, staff, the general public and U105’s listeners, last year’s target of 15,000 was exceeded.
Drop off points are located in Translink stations across Northern Ireland with collection bins in 16 bus and train stations. Gordons Chemists and Tesco are supporting the initiative by placing collection trolleys for the Appeal in stores. Donations can also be left at the Visit Belfast Welcome Centre in Belfast city centre.
Major Paul Kingscott, the Salvation Army’s Ireland divisional leader, said: “As a church and charity, we are inspired by the Christmas message to reach out to people in need. The Family Appeal allows us to help thousands of children and young people in Northern Ireland.
“Our team of volunteers will be working hard to make sure the generous gifts we receive go to families who might otherwise go without. It’s a special campaign and we are delighted to have the continued support of Translink and U105.”
Gift donations for children aged from newborn to 16 years are welcome at all SVP and Salvation Army locations as well as in Tesco stores, Gordons Chemists, Visit Belfast Welcome Centre and at the following Translink bus and rail stations until 17 December:
o Armagh Bus Station
o Banbridge Bus Station
o Bangor Bus and Rail Centre
o Carrick Train Station
o Coleraine Bus and Rail Centre
o Colin Connect Transport Hub
o Downpatrick Bus Station
o Dungannon Bus Station
o Dundonald Park & Ride
o Enniskillen Bus Station
o Europa Bus Centre
o Foyle Street Bus Station
o Lanyon Place Station
o Lisburn Bus Station
o Newry Bus Station
o Omagh Bus Station
All gifts must be new and unwrapped and the Appeal would especially welcome donations for older boys and girls; such as gift vouchers, board games, selection boxes, and toiletries. Gifts can be left at any of the drop off points until 17 December or delivered directly to the StuffABus double decker at Shane Retail Park on 18 December. For more information visit [www.salvationarmy.org.uk] or [www.svp.ie] or [www.translink.co.uk/christmas/], join in the conversation online using #FamilyAppeal #StuffABusNI
Groups wishing to apply for support from the Family Appeal must do so by 30 November 2019, while individuals have until 14 December.