Last year, a new Laois charity called ‘Santa’s Helpers’ did incredible work.
The group raised €18,000 last year and are aiming to increase that to €20,000 this year in order to help more families.
Santa’s Helpers was formed last year and is the brain child of Mountmellick physio Darren Conroy and Laois emigrant Chrissie Lynch Navarre.
The aim of this group is to raise funds to help Santa deliver Christmas presents to families who find themselves in need of a little assistance.
They are various reasons that include bereavement, illness, unemployment or where the child is sick, and the parent needs to take off work to mind their children.
The idea of setting up the group came from Chrissie Lynch Navarre, as her late husband Fred used to donate a bike to Santa each year to give a child in America whose families were struggling.
Looking ahead to this Christmas, Darren says that the need this year is greater in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said: “Last Christmas Santa’s Helpers through professionals and community activists reached 160 families.
“We do not know the identity of these people except the circumstances of some.
“To establish where our help was to go we asked for a little information without identifying the recipients.
“Some of the stories were heartbreaking and very difficult, some were of ordinary people who found themselves struggling, All of them needed support.
“This Christmas Santa’s Helpers will try to reach all that we can.
“Children receive something from Santa, the family resources stretch further, Children will have fond memories of these moments. Help us to help others.”
So far, €3,525 has been donated but the group are still a long way short of their target.
After running into problems with a Facebook fundraiser last year, the group are using the ifundraise.ie page this year.