Our members are making preparations for our biggest charity initiative of the year – the annual Secret Santa Appeal. Now in its 14th year, the appeal helps a growing number of families in Newry, Mourne and Down and beyond who suffer from hardship at this time of year.
A team of volunteers led by Newry Junior Chamber (NJC) Treasurer, Stephen O’Hare of Dan O’Hare Commercials are working with various charities and community organisations to identify families in need of support during the festive season. There are many ways that local residents and businesses can get involved and support the appeal. Here are some ideas:
1. Buy an Extra Gift
The Christmas Trees are up in their usual locations within the Buttercrane and The Quays shopping centres in Newry. The trees are decorated with gift cards which specify a child’s age and gender. Shoppers are invited to choose a card, buy a gift for the child and return it to the collection points detailed on the card.
2. Make a Donation
Individuals and businesses are invited to make a monetary donation to enable our team to purchase gifts and essential provisions for families in need. This extends beyond Christmas presents to simple essentials such as food, clothing, electricity vouchers, electrical appliances and more.
3. Do Your Own Workplace Secret Santa Initiative with a Difference
Whilst the traditional Secret Santa initiative is a fun and festive thing to do with your work colleagues, many of us don’t need an extra gift or indeed end up with a gift we don’t want. We’re appealing to employers and employees to participate in our Secret Santa appeal and purchase a gift for a child in need this Christmas instead. If your organisation would like to do this, we can arrange for the gift cards detailing what is required to be delivered to your work place. The team will also return to collect the gifts from you.
4. Have a Christmas Jumper Day or Non-uniform Day
Each year workplaces and schools get into the festive spirit by breaking out the Christmas jumpers and festive wear, or host non-uniform days to raise money for charitable causes. We’d appeal to you to consider supporting the NJC Secret Santa Appeal this year.
5. Host a Coffee Morning, Cake Sale or Sponsored Sporting Event
We all love some tea, coffee, buns and treats. You can enjoy the calories guilt-free by raising funds to support the appeal, or if you prefer the healthy option you could host your own sponsored sporting event instead to raise funds that way.
6. Display a Collection Tin / Add A Pound Per Purchase
We’d encourage retailers to participate by displaying collection tins at the pay points within their stores. NJC can provide these. Educate your customers both in-store and on your social media channels to make them aware of your participation in this year’s Secret Santa Appeal fundraising so that they can come to your store prepared to give. Perhaps you could also ask each customer if they’d be willing to pay an extra pound on their bill at the till which could be donated to the appeal.
7. Add Special Menu Items to Coffee Shop, Restaurant & Hotel Menus
If you’re a local food provider, could you add some ‘Secret Santa Specials’ to your menus this year? A Secret Santa Special item will cost customers a bit more to buy but a set amount from every tea, coffee or meal purchased could be donated to the Secret Santa Appeal. Encourage your customers to pay a little more this Christmas so those in need don’t have to go without.
8. Include an Event Fee Donation or Make us Your Event Charity Partner
Is your business hosting an event over the next month? Could you add an additional fee to the ticket price that could be donated to the appeal, or perhaps you could supply donation envelopes to delegates at the event? This could really make a difference to the number of families and children we are able to support.
9. Contact us with Family Support Requests
We work with many charities and support organisations to identify those in need each Christmas. If your organisation is not yet receiving support from us, please get in touch and we will do our best to help. Likewise, if you know a local family in need, or if you yourself are in need of assistance, please contact us in confidence and we will try our best to help.
10. Volunteer Your Time
Our team of volunteers extend beyond our own members to the wider community and we are grateful to many people who lend a helping hand each year to assist with the logistics of supporting so many people in our community. We’d encourage more volunteers to step forward and offer their support – just giving up one evening or a few hours of your time makes such a difference. Volunteers can help with various tasks such as wrapping and boxing gifts, collecting gifts from participating business, assisting us to load the vans and make the deliveries and much more.
Stay tuned to our website, Facebook page and other social media channels for regular progress updates.If you would like to make a donation or help with the appeal in any way, you can contact Stephen O’ Hare on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07740 284 940.