Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Rotary appeal will provide festive hampers

A new Tree of Remembrance will be used in Londonderry to help fund Christmas hampers for people struggling to make ends meet.

The Rotary Club of Londonderry is hoping to double the number of hampers it can pass on to families in need over the festive season to more than 300.

The announcement comes after it emerged that the Church of Ireland and the Catholic Church in the north west are setting up a food bank for the poor in the city.

The Rotary Club has been running its Tree of Remembrance appeal for four years in the city and will again this year be taking up position at the Orchard Street entrance of Foyleside Shopping Centre.

Club volunteers will be stationed at the tree from Saturdday, December 8 through to Christmas Eve.

People will have the chance to write a message to a loved one who has passed on or will be absent this Christmas.

The message is written on a yellow ribbon which is then tied to the massive tree.

Last year saw thousands of people leaving messages, raising enough money to fund donations to four different charity initiatives, one of which involved the distribution of 160 food hampers.

Jeremy Arthur from Londonderry Rotary Club said: “Last year we split the money four ways among local charities but this year we have decided to concentrate on the hampers because of the economic climate and the greater need among many people.”

Local Rotary president Gavin Killeen added: “For many years now our club has donated Christmas hampers to local organisations and have ensured that the hampers reach those families most in need in Derry.

“This year we are aiming to double the number of hampers we were able to provide last Christmas.”

The official launch of the Tree of Remembrance will take place at 10.30am on Saturday, December 8.

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