“Celtic FC Foundation’s Annual Christmas Appeal reflects the very heart of the Club’s charitable and humble beginnings. It proudly follows in the footsteps of Brother Walfrid, providing comfort to those who need it most.”
So starts the letter from Celtic FC Foundation Head of Fundraising, Jane Maguire, as she confirmed this year’s Christmas appeal raised an incredible £220,000.
What are the consequences of this?
373 families in Glasgow, Coatbridge, Bellshill and Girvan, facing poverty and hardship, received significant help.
50 pensioners in the north and east of the city received a Christmas voucher, while kids in the same area received gifts through PEEK (Possibilities for Each and Every Kid).
130 clients of The Simon Community were given a Christmas lunch.
Children living with long-term health conditions at the Glasgow Children’s Hospital received what on some occasions will be their most significant Christmas gift.
Glasgow East Women’s Aid received a Christmas meal and gifts for families at the refuge.
Vulnerable refugees received support through the Scottish Refugee Council.
Glasgow City Mission’s Foodbank received support; they work with an average of 60 households per week.
Loaves & Fishes and Spirit Aid received Christmas hampers and toys for their work with homeless families.
The Wayside Club, Glasgow’s 365 day venue for the homeless received help in providing hot food for the very needy.
The Foundation and Celtic sponsor, Intelligent Car Leasing (more on them later) split the cost of a £10,800 van to allow The Invisibles to carry out their important work.
Parkhead Salvation Army’s work was supported again this year.
St Roch’s Foundation’s meals for the homeless and pensioners between Christmas and New Year will be supported.
Glasgow Night Shelter, who provide food and a safe place for homeless refugees, some of societies more marginalised, were helped.
The Elpis Centre’s work for vulnerable young women was aided.
400 kids received a Christmas Party at Celtic Park.
Oban’s Hope Kitchen’s work to provide food and shelter has been funded.
The People’s Kitchen, Newcastle, who aid the homeless and vulnerable was helped – recognition, perhaps, of the incredible work the Tyneside No.1 Celtic Supporters Club do for the Foundation.
Children in Poverty Inverclyde received clothing, books and toys, as well as a trip to Santa’s Grotto, in consultation with another great club, the Greenock CSC.
Grampian Women’s Aid, Moray Firth Radio’s Cash for Kids, St John the Evangelist’s work (Cumnock), North Ayrshire Women’s Aid, Fife Gingerbread, the Eric Liddle Centre (Edinburgh) were all helped in their work.
Women’s Aid in Dublin, Belfast and Lisburn were each aided.
The Foundation are funding the Northern Ireland Hospice’ Teenage Weekends project for 2017.
Kids at the school in Whitechapel, London, where Bro Walfrid taught, were taken to a pantomime.
London and the South East’s needy were helped through various projects:
Cardinal Hume Centre
Neighbours of Poplar
Hillingdon Cherubs (neonatal work)
Camden New Journal Appeal
Wimbledon Children’s Hospital – in connection with the Wimbledon CSC
The Brett Foundation
London North West Healthcare Charitable Fund
Our Barn (life skills, aged 16-25)
SVP Society Broadstairs
Kent Air Ambulance
Kent Foster Care Association
Happy Days Children’s Charity
Big Issue Foundation
The Foundation were asked to pass on gifts received, some of which went to Sean’s Trust – setup by our friend Linda Croker, who lost her husband and CQN’er St John Doyle, three years ago.
What did you do to achieve this?
Founding Fathers’ Fast, raised £1500 on one day.
Celtic Sleep Out – and incredible £80k.
Ghirls for Good, £22k
Bucket Collection, £13k
And nearly half the total was raised by direct donations – like the kind of things we do here throughout the year.
There is a part of this story which is seldom told. People from the Foundation turned up at the door of some of these families this month with envelopes containing cash. The reaction was often beyond gratitude or relief. Many tears of joy are shed as feelings of helplessness find an anchor to cling to.
If you are cold and find warmth, hungry and are fed. If you cannot provide for your children then receive shelter, toys and hope, you know the value of that £220,000.
This is THE Celtic story of 2016.