Your Celtic FC Foundation, Christmas Appeal, raised an incredible £310k this year, a record figure that allowed the spirit of Celtic to touch more lives than ever before.
The largest slice of the funds, £129k, was shared between 645 families with children in Scotland and Ireland.
Five different homeless charities received £54.5k.
Eight children’s charities received £43k.
£20k went to women’s aid charities.
£15k went to three refugee charities.
£10k went to 100 vulnerable elderly people living near Celtic Park, in what remains an impoverished part of the city.
A Christmas meal, gifts and outings for families were provided to those in the Glasgow East Women’s Aid refuge.
The Scottish refugee Council, which supports over 650 families, said, “The support of Celtic FC Foundation has helped hundreds of vulnerable families at a time of real need.
“In a single day, our advisors will support people who have become homeless, help parents who have no winter clothes for their children, and assist vulnerable families who are struggling through a complex legal system. The need for our services is greater than ever, and this winter we will struggle to support so many families without help.”
Glasgow City Mission provide a hot meal to an average of 130 men and women each night, and offer a safe space in their day. The ‘Mission said, “This wouldn’t be possible without the generous support of organisations such as Celtic FC Foundation. We would like to express our sincere thanks to all of your supporters who have contributed to the Christmas Appeal.”
Loaves and Fishes provide hot meals at a café in Glasgow and foodbank services in Glasgow and East Kilbride. “Through the provision of the meals that we offer at the Oasis Cafe, we try to make people feel welcome and respected. They’re given a two-course meal and an opportunity to sit at a table with each other and enjoy their dinner in a way that most of us take for granted.
“This is a truly vital lifeline to those who are out there with little or no access to food.”
Jim White, Secretary of The Wayside Club, which provides daily support advice and comfort to Glasgow’s homeless, said: “We owe a great deal of gratitude over the years to Celtic FC Foundation and especially their Christmas Appeal, which has helped so many individuals that come to our door each night, looking for clean clothes and a hot meal.”
The Invisibles provide sleeping bags, clothing and footwear to those living rough. They encounter people wet, freezing and in need of a change of clothes. Dermot Hill said, “The backing we receive through the Foundation’s Christmas Appeal plays a vital role in ensuring that we stay well stocked throughout this very difficult period.”
The Glasgow Night Shelter supports asylum seekers who cannot access statutory homelessness services due to their immigration status. Foundation support allowed them to extend their opening hours over the festive period. The Refugee Survival Trust were helped to provide bus passes, which allows people to build friendships.
The Elpis Centre, who provide for homeless young women and Spirit Aid similarly received support. For some kids, as well as toys, winter coats, wellies, shoes and school uniforms were provided.
This list goes on, literally for pages. If you stopped to put money in a bucket, bid at an auction, raised sponsorship at a sleep out, bought a candle for Light Up the Clover, or participated in this work in any way, you will never know the full impact you have made.
It is hard to get your head around big numbers, but £310k is a phenomenal figure. It compares to anything achieved by any football club in the world. Through this work, Celtic fans are changing the world in a structured way. The Foundation are careful with your money, its impact is measured and subsequent support is earned.
We live in a world that is very different from 1887, when Brother Walfrid and his parishioners decided that “a football club will be formed for the maintenance of dinner tables for the children and unemployed.” Then, the overwhelming majority of our community lived in abject poverty. Now, most of us will fill our bellies tomorrow and sleep in a warm home. But if this football club means anything to you, you will feel solidarity with those who fled to this country to seek a better life, those struggling to bring up kids and keep work and other plates spinning, those who are ill, without work, or those, who for a variety of circumstances, are without home, family and hope.
There but for the grace of God… It can take very little to go wrong with our plans for our world to crash down.
The work of the Foundation is our proudest boast. In 2019, more of us got this message and wanted to get involved. We are part of a story that is 132 years old, that stretches back to a generation, some of whom fled famine and persecution but discovered the first step on the ladder involved squalor, hunger and cold. Others have no link whatsoever to that story, but found their way to Celtic through common values.
And guess what? We get to do it all again in 2020; our Celtic work never ends. Thanks to everyone who ‘gets it’, you’re just brilliant.
Take care and have a great Christmas!