Christmas Family Appeal
The Belfast Rotary Club has been pleased to promote and support, from its inception, The Christmas Family Appeal which collected and distributed Christmas toys and gifts for families in need across Northern Ireland who, for what ever reason, would not otherwise get a present at Christmas.
Historically the Appeal grew rapidly, as did the need to help and it became a joint venture between The Salvation Army and the Society of St Vincent de Paul, supported by BBC Northern Ireland. The Club continued its involvement with Club members bringing in gifts on the first meeting in December and teams from the Club, with volunteers from the Salvation Army and St Vincent de Paul, would sort and wrap the donated presents. It was a very humbling experience to see the public's generosity with all the fabulous new toys, books and games and gift vouchers left in to collection centres.
However The Rotary Club of Belfast no longer took the lead, this is quite a usual feature of Rotary projects. A need is identified, a scheme is developed to fill that need and set in motion and when the Club is satisfied that the need is being fulfilled it is happy for others to take it on, thus leaving the Club free to put its efforts where others' needs have been identified. The Club continued to support this appeal through the donation of, as then requested, vouchers which left a lot more flexibility in assembling the parcels, also with packing the parcels and whatever the Salvation Army or St Vincent de Paul requested.
In 2014 the BBC withdrew its support so our help for the Salvation Army was even more needed and appreciated. It was decided that money would now be more useful as the Salvation Army could purchase what presents or vouchers they still needed and each year since the members donate to this Appeal. Picture shows President Ronnie McLean handing members' donations over to the Salvation Army December 11 2014.