A Paphos initiative which ensures hundreds of children of needy families in the district receive presents at Christmas is underway and is appealing for gifts and food vouchers.
‘Gift of love Paphos’ started five years ago and this year is headed up by volunteer Mikka Heaney, who said she is now collecting gifts for children of all ages, kindly donated by members of the public.
“This year we aim to help around three hundred children through local schools and other organisations. These gifts will go towards the most needs families in the community and will give them a smile on Christmas day,” she said.
Heaney is undertaking the project alone this year and said that volunteers and donors are welcome.
“I couldn’t bear the thought of any children going without a gift this year, it’s not fair on them and they need to know that people are thinking about them and care about them. It’s hard work and labour intensive, but it’s important to put a smile on their face, whatever their background or religion,” she said.
The initiative embodies the spirit of Christmas and gives gifts to all sorts of families, Cypriot, British, Russian and Syrian, she added.
In addition to the gifts, Heaney is also collecting food vouchers which will ensure these families will get meat, chicken or turkey during the festive season, and also dried and canned goods, such as pasta, rice and tinned tomatoes.
Unlike other years, presents do not need to be placed in shoe boxes which can be hard for the public to find, said Heaney, but can also be placed in bags, sacks, stockings or baskets, she said.
Presents will be checked by volunteers ahead of their distribution in the Paphos district, so they may be donated wrapped or unwrapped and a team of six women from a quad bike group will help this process this year, added Heaney.
“It looks like we will be wrapping everything at my home,” she said.
All gift of love boxes/bags are filled with a selection of gifts around the value of €10-€15 each.
“Our goal is to provide each of our children with the necessities and a few luxury items such as chocolate or a toy for example,” she noted.
The children’s ages range from 0 to 18 years, however, this year’s vital ages are 2 to 16 years, the 0-2 age group for both boys and girls have already been covered, so donations in this section are not needed, she said.
All sorts of gifts are required, a full list and guidelines are available on the appeals’ Facebook page and are age-related. They include colouring books, crayons, socks, gloves, sleepwear, toiletries, sweets, chocolate, hot water bottles, deodorant, clothes, nail varnish, makeup, calculators, writing pads, pens, small games and jewellery.
The gifts are distributed every December through various networks such as schools and community centres.
“We can all help to make a child feel special this Christmas and I hope our wonderful community helps again this year,” she said.
Details of pick up and drop off points are available at the dedicated Facebook page and include: Revival Fashions in Kissonerga, Chalkies Bar Coral Bay Strip, Baby corner Chlorakas and Style Spas Mesoyi Avenue.
Mikka Heaney: 96 462558