One of Northern Ireland's largest and longest running Christmas appeals is now underway.
The Salvation Army and St Vincent de Paul joint Family Appeal has been helping parents and young people enjoy a brighter Christmas for over 40 years.
But with one in four children impacted by the pandemic and living in poverty, demand for support from this year’s appeal is expected to be at a record high.
The Family Appeal has benefited from the enormous generosity of the public who have donated thousands of toys in previous years. However, due to the pandemic the usual toy collection has been replaced by the opportunity for people to make an online donation.
Major Neil Webb, the Salvation Army’s divisional leader, said: “As a church and charity, we are inspired by the Christmas message to reach out to people in need.
"Through our community work in towns across Northern Ireland, we have seen first-hand the impact of the pandemic on the families we support. 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.
"The Family Appeal relies on the incredible generosity of the public and businesses, as well as the support of our dedicated volunteers. We know this year has been difficult for so many but we ask that people continue to support the Family Appeal and help us make difference this Christmas."
Mary Waide, Regional President for St Vincent de Paul North Region, said: “This year more than ever, the stark reality is that families in local communities up and down the country will be making impossible choices of whether to put food on the table or put presents under the tree.
“As we join with The Salvation Army and launch the annual Family Appeal we would take this opportunity to thank everyone who has made the appeal so successful to date and stress that we would appreciate your help again this year very much. Protecting the dignity of those in need is paramount and this virtual appeal will help us ensure that no child wakes up to an empty Christmas while empowering parents to choose and prioritise how best to make use of your donation this winter.”
Help the Salvation Army and St Vincent de Paul ensure that children enjoy the magic of Christmas by donating to the Family Appeal: