By Megan-Josephine Reynolds
Christmas is a wonderful time of year but it can also be a very difficult time for many.
This festive season is an opportune time for us to give back to our communities and to spread some joy worldwide. At GALWAYnow we wanted to share some ways in which you can bring some kindness to this time of giving, that will last long beyond the winter months.
Check out the gorgeous Jack & Jill Find A Diamond Candles
Renowned Irish fashion and interiors designers Paul & William Costelloe have created exclusive ‘Find a Diamond’ candles for Jack & Jill this Christmas. There are two fragrances to choose from – Pink Grapefruit & Champagne or ‘Recharge’ which is a fusion of Neroli and Clementine, with notes of Bergamot, Orange and Mandarin.
Each candle, produced by Celtic Candles, comes exquisitely presented with an elegant pendant, designed by Betty & Biddy, featuring a silver disc and diamond inset. And for one lucky person, a golden ticket moment will lead to a 14-karat gold diamond pendant, handmade and kindly donated by Irish jewellery designer Chupi for Jack & Jill, valued at over €650.
The candles are available on Jack and Jill’s website, priced at €27.50 for one candle and €50 for two.
Save A Sod with Green Sod Ireland
Environmental organisation Green Sod Ireland are offering an alternative gift this Christmas, to protect Irish ecosystems and encourage people to be proactive in the preservation of nature. Save A Sod is a way to contribute and commit to protecting Irish Biodiversity, by ‘Saving A Sod’ of Ireland. Funds donated will be used to protect the land and species already in trust – Connemara Co.Galway, Rosscarbery Co.Cork, Co.Carlow, Ballinrobe Co.Mayo, Kinnegoe Co. Donegal, and Arderry Co. Cavan.
Contributors who save one sod will receive a Digital Cert to acknowledge their donation. Those who save more than one sod will receive a beautiful Letterpress Certificate. The certificate is hand-made by Dublin Letterpress Studio ‘One Strong Arm’ using card made from recycled coffee cups and printed with ecological ink. There is also the option to gift or dedicate sods in the name of someone.
To learn more about the campaign, visit Green Sod Ireland’s website.
Help a vulnerable child receive the food they need, with Mary’s Meals
As people around Ireland plan their own festive meals and get-togethers, Mary’s Meals is asking people to donate the cost of a Christmas dinner to the GoFundMe campaign and help feed a child in need for a whole school year.
Mary’s Meals now serves over two million children in 19 of the world’s poorest countries every day. Today, over 58 million primary school-age children miss school because of poverty. Instead of sitting in a classroom, they are working in fields, begging on street corners, or scavenging among the garbage just to survive. Millions more attend school so hungry that they are not able to concentrate and learn.
The charity not only feeds huge numbers of children attending government-run schools in Africa, but also brings daily meals to children finding hope in non-formal education centres in India; the sons and daughters of vulnerable migrant workers in Thailand; young people engaging in education while awaiting trial in prisons in Niger and Madagascar; children affected by the ongoing conflict in Syria – through feeding programmes in Aleppo and neighbouring Lebanon; and many thousands of young learners in Haiti, which has been plagued by years of political unrest and damage from natural disasters.
To donate to Mary’s Meals, visit their GoFundMe campaign page. 9c is all it costs to provide a nutritious meal in the child’s place of education, while €18.30 will feed a child for a whole school year.
Run a mile in support of communities around the world, with the GOAL Mile Christmas Fundraiser
Irish humanitarian aid agency GOAL is aiming to make this year’s hugely popular Christmas fundraiser, the GOAL Mile, the biggest ever!
The annual event sees people across Galway gather over the month of December to run, jog or walk a mile in support of vulnerable communities across 14 countries where GOAL works in Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. The fundraiser returns this year with both in person and virtual events for the first time ever – proudly supported by AIB.
To register for your local GOAL Mile or to arrange one at a new location, visit: www.goalmile.org.
Donate to ensure vital mental health services are available across Ireland, with AWARE’s Christmas Appeal
Mental health charity Aware has launched its Christmas fundraising appeal. They are calling on the public to support their free vital services and ensure that no one has to go through these serious conditions alone.
Aware aims to ensure that individuals and their families across Ireland affected by depression, bipolar disorder and mood related conditions are not alone, are understood and supported free from stigma, and are encouraged to access appropriate therapies.
In 2020, more than 30,000 people directly benefited from Aware’s services, and a further 6,000 adults took part in mental health education programmes facilitated by the charity. The Covid-19 pandemic has further fuelled the need for such supports, with Aware expecting sustained high levels of demand to continue during 2022.
They are inviting the public to make a donation this Christmas to help ensure that everyone impacted by depression and bipolar disorder in Ireland has access to free services and support. Make a real difference this Christmas by donating today at aware.ie
If you are impacted by depression, bipolar disorder, or other mood related conditions, you can contact Aware’s free support line 7 days a week from 10am to 10pm on 1800 80 48 48.
Support those facing homelessness and “Sprint For Simon”, with The Galway Simon Community
The Galway Simon Community are asking individuals to sprint, run or walk 1km a day for the 12 days of Christmas, from December 25th – January 5th in support of those facing homelessness.
As we enter the winter months and face into the new year, everyone needs something to clear their mind and promote their mental and physical well-being. Why not help raise vital funds for those experiencing and at risk of homelessness at the same time?
Help ensure no one is “ALONE at Christmas”, with ALONE’s Christmas Campaign
The Christmas campaign ‘ALONE at Christmas’, offers the public first-hand advice as to how we too can end the silent epidemic of loneliness and social isolation amongst our older people. The secret? The gift of you.
ALONE’s Christmas Ambassador, Páraic Duffy explains the campaign, “The pandemic has been hard on people of all ages but it has been particularly tough on our older people. The continued need for them to isolate/hideaway has had drastic effects on their mental health and wellbeing. Now, more than ever, we need individuals in the local community to reach out to their older neighbours and give them the gift of companionship. No one wants to spend Christmas alone nor do we want to see others feel alone.”
Help end loneliness for the isolated across Ireland this Christmas. You are the solution, don’t waste the opportunity to make someone feel like you care. Make it your mission to leave no one ALONE this Christmas!
If you or someone you know needs support this Christmas, please call ALONE’s National Support and Referral Line on 0818 222 024 from 8am – 8pm, seven days a week. ALONE operates 365 days a year, so they will be there to take your call when you need us most.
Brave the Cold So Others Don’t Have To, with the COPE Galway Christmas Swim!
Over the past 32 years, thousands of swimmers have made it part of their Christmas ritual to wear the COPE Galway t-shirt, bring along their cheerleaders and take a dip in the bracing waters of Galway Bay to raise funds and awareness to support vulnerable individuals and families in our community.
Every year, there are men, women and children in our community for whom Christmas is the loneliest time of year. Whether due to the isolation that sometimes comes with older age; whether you have had to flee violence at home or if you are enduring the realities of homelessness, this season can compound what is already an exceptionally difficult time. The COPE Galway Christmas Swim raises essential funds that go directly towards providing for children, young people, women and men in Galway who need extra support this Christmas and throughout the year. In 2020 alone, COPE Galway supported 2,616 people across the city and county through their services for homelessness, domestic abuse and services for older people.
The COPE Galway Christmas Swim takes place from 20-26 December and includes an option to attend a slot at the live event on Christmas Day between 9am and 1pm. COPE Galway is encouraging participants to register online and to stay safe while you swim, follow Covid protocols, stay warm, dry and never swim alone. Their website is full of information with resources for your safety, your fundraiser, your social media and a space to share your swim stories.
To register and for further information please visit copegalway.ie/swim
Also, if you register before Sunday 19th December at 6pm and join the Swim Facebook Group, you can win a Zone 3 Parka Swim Robe from Outback-Jacks!