A community worker has claimed there is so much need in Derry this year, that there will be people who will be going without a dinner and children going without toys on Christmas Day.
Kathleen Bradley, co-ordinator of Dove House Advice Service, is asking local people to back an appeal that will see everyone in the city get a hot meal and every child receive a toy over the festive period.
“We are asking people to dish up an extra meal on Christmas Day and Boxing Day and we can allocate someone close to them who needs it. This will either be an elderly person or someone one extremely vulnerable who would otherwise not get a Christmas dinner. Think of the food that gets thrown out at Christmas.”
Ms. Bradley said Dove House runs an appeal every year, however, the need is so great this Christmas that they have had to go public.
“With the cost of living increase and the reduction in income, things have, most definitely, got worse this year for many families and, indeed, single people also.
“We have seen a massive increase in tax credits payments being suspended pending investigation. It can take three to six months for these investigations and for families to get payments again.”
Dove House has launched a Christmas DinnerAappeal, a Coat Appeal, a Food Appeal and a Toy Appeal and is urging local people to get on board.
Already people have donated their winter coats which they no longer use but with still have plenty of wear left.
“The girls have already been out on the streets handing over these coats,” added Kathleen. “And the response has been great.
“We also have a food appeal and would ask people to donate non-perishable items.”
And on Friday Dove House launched its Toy Appeal at Toys R Us on Crescent Link.
“Without the toy appeal there are children who would not get anything for Christmas.
“Through the many projects in Dove House we have been able to identify families most in need.
“We would ask that when people are out shopping they pick up an extra gift or some groceries.
To donate to the various appeals food, toys and coats can be left at Dove House.
There is also a collection point for toys at Toys R Us.