More than 300 hampers of food and essentials have been distributed to families in need in Derry as part of local Rotary Club’s Christmas Mercy Mission.
Money raised at the Tree of Remembrance outside Foyleside is funding the club’s Helping Hamper Campaign which aims to bring festive cheer to local families living in poverty. The hampers were distributed to charitable organisations, community groups and other agencies in the city who work hard to help people less fortunate, who in turn passed on the goodies to those most in need this Christmas.
President of Londonderry Rotary Club, Gavin Killeen, said the hampers had been distributed all over the city.
“Many groups approached us to get involved this year and the hampers have been distributed in the most deprived wards right across the city. We have put together 300 and we believe that with the help of the public’s support for the Tree of Remembrance charity drive we will have covered the cost of them by Christmas Eve. The money raised will also go to support local charities,” he said.
Each year Rotary donates the proceeds of the tree - which is situated at the Orchard Street entrance to Foyleside Shopping Centre - to help local charities. However, after being moved by many of the stories of the plights of Derry families, the local club - in consultation with local agencies such as Dove House, St Vincent de Paul, the Western Board, local health centres and others - decided to give directly to local people in need at Christmas.
Last year 180 hampers of food and essentials, valued at around £55 each, were donated but the local Rotarians and the campaign was such a success that it was decided a bigger giveaway would take place this Christmas.