Dubliners who may have been a little less than overjoyed when they opened their presents yesterday morning are being asked to help the city’s homeless by passing on their unwanted Christmas Gifts.
The Unwanted Gifts Appeal at St. Mary’s Pro Cathedral has grown into a fantastic charitable effort where people can re-gift those presents they do not need and put them to good use. Gifts can be brought to the Pro Cathedral from today (St. Stephen’s Day) and placed at the crib in the Cathedral until January 6th, the Feast of the Epiphany.
Crosscare, the social care agency of the Archdiocese of Dublin, takes the gifts and redistributes them to homeless people – holding back many for Christmas 2017.
Crosscare runs six services throughout the greater Dublin area for adults experiencing homelessness. This year, demand for services continued to increase, made worse by the lack of suitable housing options available. During 2016 Crosscare provided 127,750 bed nights to over 1600 people in 6 residences for people experiencing homelessness – in Dun Laoghaire, and in Dublin 1, 7 and 8. Services range from emergency accommodation, short-term housing with support services to helping people find their own home.
40 Crosscare staff have been working around the clock in these days in the six homeless services and extra staff are also on standby to help with families who may need assistance at short notice.
Among the services rung by Crosscare, is the Brú Aimsir cold weather service which opened in December 2015. Brú Aimsir is currently providing over 100 emergency beds in Dublin’s city centre every night. Two years ago, Archbishop Diamruid Martin made St. Marys Hostel available to Crosscare to run a 24-hour service providing Supported Temporary Accommodation to individuals who are homeless with complex support needs. That service is operating and full.
Canon Damian O’ Reilly of the Pro Cathedral praised the generosity of parishioners who have given so much to homeless charities already this month in a series of seasonal fundraisers at the Cathedral. Money was raised for Crosscare, The Peter Mc Verry trust and The Capuchin Day Centre.
He said the staff of the Pro were delighted to be able to run the Unwanted Gifts (and unopened) Appeal again this year – not just to help in bringing an extra bit of cheer to those who cannot be with their families – but also to ensure than the time, effort and money that went into buying the gifts is put to the best possible use.
The Pro Cathedral is open until 12 noon today and every day this week from 10am until 5pm.
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