Big hearted Christmas shoppers are being invited to become 'Secret Santas' in an effort to help needy children throughout the Londonderry area.
The Junior Chamber International organisation this week launched the appeal at Lisnagelvin Shopping Centre, Richmond Centre and Foyleside Shopping Centre, to support disadvantaged youngsters through the, NSPCC and the local social services agencies.
Shoppers are invited to go the Secret Santa Christmas Tree located in each of the centres, take a card from the tree, which will have the name and age of a child on it and take the card and purchase a gift, which would be suitable for that child. They then return the card and gift to the designated drop off point. The Chamber will then get the gifts to the NSPCC or social services for delivery to the children and families before Christmas.
Speaking at the launch, Patrick Kelly, President of Junior Chamber International Derry said that many parents in the city are unable to purchase any gifts at all. "This project does much to help the most needy children in our community and help make Christmas the special time that it should be," he said.
"I would appeal to the local community to help us help those for whom Christmas might be a less than happy time".
The Secret Santa Appeal is run with the support of Bank of Ireland, Progressive Building Society, Kellys of Melmount, Trinity Estate Agents, RCD Print, Lisnagelvin Garden Centre, Richmond Centre, Lisnagelvin Shopping Centre, Foyleside Shopping Centre and Marks & Spencer. Gifts can be donated until Christmas Eve.