Staff and volunteers at the Rosemount Resource Centre have praised the generosity of the Derry public who supported their hamper appeal.
Hundreds of toys and hampers were distributed to families throughout the city on Friday following the centre’s appeal.
Darren O’Reilly from Freecycle, the group behind the festive scheme, said the generosity of local people was very impressive.
However, he also said levels of need in communities across Derry is rising.
“We have definitely seen an increase in the need for assistance out there this year,” he said.
Explaining how the scheme came about, the community worker said: “Some years ago Rosemount Resource Centre, with the active participation of Women Together, started an annual Christmas Santa event for the local area which now sees around 200 children having a visit with Santa and receiving a small gift each Christmas,
“In the last few years it has become obvious that the need for assistance at this time of year is greater than ever.
“With this in mind, we, in partnership with other community activists, initiated a programme encouraging the community to donate toys and for which we in turn distributed to anyone who either sought our help or to those we could identify as people who could benefit from such help.
“As a result, last year we gave over 270 families from all over the city some form of assistance,” he said.
Mr O’Reilly said the initiative has grown this year and will help even more families .
“This year we combined with Creggan Community Collective, Teach na Faite and Teens for Culture in an attempt to broaden and increase our impact and we named the project, ‘Freecycle,’
“As can be seen from the number of toys collected and the number of food hampers being distributed this year, the generosity of the people of the city is obvious,” he said.
“We thank the people of Derry and indeed those from as far away as America and Scotland who have responded to our appeal for their kindness and generosity,” Mr O’Reilly added.
The community worker also said they worked with a number of other groups and agencies in the appeal.
“We are unable to name every source of help but we would particularly like to thank the Methodist Mission in Crawford Square, the Simon Community, Greater Shantallow Area Partnership and the Derry and Donegal Christian Fellowship and the support received from homeless groups, church groups, and individuals for the appeal,” he said.