Although Solidarity charity which provided a lifeline for thousands of needy people in Paphos over the past few years closed its doors earlier this year, there are still hundreds of families requiring help, according to local volunteers, churches and non-profit organisations.
Dikla Smith of a ‘Gift of Love shoe box’ appeal, which sees the public fill hundreds of shoeboxes with Christmas gifts for needy children in Paphos said many still need help.
“Just because Solidarity has closed doesn’t mean that there still isn’t a need to help struggling families in Paphos, they still need our help and people still need food,” she said. “The children we are giving boxes to this year are registered with us and are ex-Solidarity, as well as a number of schools, including one for underprivileged and disabled children.”
The Gift of Love will give over 550 shoe boxes stuffed with presents for children and have also teamed up with an initiative: ‘Re-Cycle Bikes 4 Xmas’ started by Paphos resident Dave Metcalf. Two hundred recycled bikes will be handed over to needy children on December 17, said Smith.
Wendy Burdon of Caritas Paphos said that they give regular weekly donations of food to around 40 families, more than half of them refugees. This includes all sorts of basic foods, all of which is donated, and ahead of Christmas, she said that they will add something special for the children.
Gina Ghillyer, a businesswoman and philanthropist, is organising a Sunflower Christmas party for these children which will include a buffet, magician and Father Christmas.
“A lot of these children are Syrian, and the event is obviously not about religion, as many of them are Muslim, but to bring them a little bit of happiness,” she said.
“We are appealing for toys, clothes and pens for children aged up to 15 years old to give as presents,” she said.
Pauline Lozinski of the Paphos Christian Fellowship International – said that she is offering a Christmas lunch to those that need it.
“I’m inviting people who may be on their own this Christmas so that they don’t have to feel alone.”
She said that as many Paphos hotels have closed for the winter season, there is an influx of people who need help with basics such as food, as there is a lack of jobs.
She added that the church, as part of their Matthew 25 project to feed the hungry, offer food parcels to around fifty to sixty families each week.
“We are also doing a ‘reverse advent calendar’ this means that we put a donation in a box every day to go to the appeal, extra things, such as nuts, crisps and treats.”
Gift of Love shoe box appeal- Dikla Smith on 97 789099, Mikka Heaney 96 462558.
Sunflower Christmas party gift appeal- Gina – 99553933
Food donations- such as pasta, rice, tinned goods:
PCFI Church – Revival Fashion store Paphos
Caritas Paphos- at Archangel Michael hospice Shop during the week, or at Saint Paul’s Church at Sat/Sun Masses.