By Bejay Browne
ORGANISERS of the Gift of Love appeal are desperate for the public to step in and help with this year’s campaign.
The initiative sees the public fill hundreds of shoeboxes with Christmas gifts and raise cash for needy children and their families.
Organisers say that more boxes for the 10-18 year age group are needed, for both boys and girls as well, as a desperate need for powdered baby milk, nappies and dry food.
Mikka Heaney, one of the organisers, told the Cyprus Mail: “We have nothing (baby products) to give the families, it’s terrible and there are around 110 babies who are in need of our help.”
The “Christmas Gift of Love- Solidarity She box appeal”, has been organised by volunteers Mikka Heaney, Dikla Smith and Theodosia Christodoulou, for a second year. It is an annual effort that raises funds and collects gifts for children from underprivileged families which are either registered with the social welfare or the charity organisation Solidarity Paphos.
Solidarity was set up in 2012 and helps all those in need, of any nationality or background.
Heaney said on Tuesday that the Solidarity store is bare of all essential food items, including powdered baby milk and nappies.
“We need staple items of dry food such as, rice, pasta and lentils, and urgently need powdered baby milk, nappies and other infant paraphernalia.”
This food will go towards making the Christmas period a little easier for families which are currently on the Solidarity charities list. Without these food donations, they would go hungry, she said.
“We have close to three hundred families which are reliant on us for food donations and we can’t let them down,” she said.
Dikkla Smith added: “We urgently need shoe boxes for the 10-18 year old, both boys and girls and we are also desperate for food donations, in particular for baby products. If there are any big companies that are willing to step in and help us with these donations, we would be eternally grateful,” she said.
Smith said that the volunteers are hoping for a ‘big push’ ahead of Friday, which is the last date for shoe boxes to be donated. This is to give them enough time to sort and check them all before Christmas Eve, when they will be handed out.
Heaney said that they are all hoping that the public, businesses and organisations will come together ahead of next Thursday, when all of the donations will be handed out to needy families for the Christmas period.
Last year, the ‘Gift of Love-Solidarity’ venture successfully raised over €4,000 in cash donations, and collected close to one thousand shoe boxes stuffed full of Christmas gifts for children of all ages. The idea is to decorate a regular-sized shoe box and separate lid, and fill it with a selection of toys for children. Boxes must be clearly marked whether they are for boys or girls and the age category.
The gifts are collected from various drop-off points across Paphos and will be handed to parents when they are collecting their food parcels prior to Christmas at the Solidarity office.
The age categories go up every two years, such as 0-2 years, 2-4 years and so on. Each box should be clearly labelled whether it’s for a boy or girl and the age group it’s suitable for.
Boxes can be dropped off at collection points until Friday.
Food donations can be dropped off at Solidarity house in Paphos or other collection points listed on their website.
For further information: Dikla Smith 97 789099, Mikka Heaney 96 462558, Theodosia Christodoulou 97 829504