UCD St Vincent de Paul have had a successful ‘Generositree’ Appeal ahead of Christmas, receiving donations for “double” the required amount this year.
Every year, St Vincent de Paul have an appeal for presents, which are placed under Christmas trees (hence ‘Generositree’). Tags on the trees let people know who may be without Christmas presents this year, and people can then donate presents for those children.
Speaking to the University Observer, Vice-Auditor of UCD St Vincent de Paul (SVP) society, Dan Kiernan, described the work that has gone into the society’s recent Christmas appeal. “Each year we collect presents for children in need…this year we did it for the North Dublin Bay Housing Crisis Community.”
The aim of the ‘Generoistree’ appeal is to provide children that have been affected by the housing and homelessness crisis with presents for the Christmas holidays. Working in conjunction with the North Dublin Bay Housing Crisis Community, SVP focused on children in emergency accommodation in Darndale, North Dublin. “These children are probably the people who feel the effects of the crisis the most, in terms of being moved out of the house and being put into really difficult situations,” says Kiernan.
This year, the society decided to expand from the Student Centre to Newman, Sutherland, and the Global Lounge to increase the intake of donations for the appeal. Highlighting the effect this decision had on the overall appeal, Kiernan said,”the staff in Sutherland were very helpful along with the students, and we got loads of donations from the international students in the Global Lounge.” Gift tags were placed on the Christmas trees located in each of the buildings, with the age and gender of the recipient clearly displayed. Staff and students of UCD were encouraged to remove the tags, purchase an appropriate gift and return the gift along with the tag under the tree.
SVP were seeking present donations for 140 children, but have received donations for “double” that number. Kiernan says there can be issues with donations for particular age groups, “I think the older categories get less donations…most of the gifts come for either 8 year old boys or girls.”
SVP began collecting donations in week 11, with the installations of the Christmas trees in on campus, and the presents were distributed on Sunday 17th December. “The North Dublin Bay Housing Crisis Community group [organised] a party on Sunday afternoon and all these kids [were] invited to come along.” Ahead of the party, the presents were sorted and allocated.
UCD students can get involved with SVP by attending the training days at the start of the second semester. The society holds soup runs 4 times a week, and is involved with different youth clubs and different social justice campaigns. Kiernan concluded, “My favorite thing about it [is that] the people who donate never even hear where the presents might be going, never receive a thank you. They do it out of their own generosity. The generosity has been massive this year, a massive thanks to everyone who helped out.”