The Outreach Moldovas Operation Santa, the Christmas shoe box appeal, with strong links in the county and with one Virginian recently returned from volunteering in the eastern European country, will not be taking place as recession is taking its toll on the charity.
Outreach Moldovas Operation Santa delivered shoe boxes filled with Christmas treats to thousands of children in orphanages, to children who were terminally ill, or living in poverty.
The charity is thanking all those who, over the last 13 years, supported the cause.
Founder Dr Suzanne O’Connell says the charity is in crisis:
“As the recession continues, we are finding ourselves in huge financial crisis with a decrease of over sixty per cent in donations and aid for 2013.” “So far. our programmes are struggling massively under the pressure of necessary cutbacks and there is no certainty of recovery in the near future. There is so much going in our favour to be thankful for – wonderful services, wonderful supporters and wonderful children who put their hearts and souls into their own care but equally there is much going against us; Irish charity providing services abroad; service provision in Moldova in an area being reduced in Ireland; cuts in household income leading to cuts in charitable giving – the list is endless.
“If there is a chance for us to survive this storm we need to prioritise and focus on what is the most important and do everything in our power to provide all our essential services.
“At this time it is our absolute responsibility to concentrate fully on raising the required funds to ensure we are able to provide these essential services up to and including Christmas and the first quarter of 2014 and beyond and to put our non-essential programmes on hold until we are in a stronger financial position.
“It is for this reason it is with great sadness that we are unable to run the Christmas shoe box appeal and the Santa expedition this year, we hope that we will be in a better position this time next year to commit to this programme,” she said.
“This will be the first year in 13 years where we have not been in a position to run the Christmas shoe box appeal; where the joy of giving far outweighed the joy of receiving.
“We know that alongside the shoeboxes which were filled with much love and care, the children also need orthopaedic shoes, medications, surgeries and much more which cannot be sacrificed in favour of a Christmas gift.
“We are committed to doing everything in our power to source income streams to enable us to continue our essential services and we desperately hope that you will support us while we weather this recessionary storm as the children could do with all the support you can offer if they are to receive the care they need.
“We will be hosting events ourselves throughout the year to raise funds and advertising events that others are running to raise funds because while Christmas is such an important date in a child’s life; there are also another 364 days beyond Christmas that the children must also be supported on in the upcoming year.
“I apologise to those in the process of applying for annual leave to travel to Moldova in December or those who have made plans to collect shoeboxes with their friends and families, it is that very support that is at the heart of our organisation. “We hope we can translate that support into success for maintaining the services that these children desperately rely on. “I firmly believe that we can turn this around; there have been storms before and we hunkered down and weathered them
out together – this time our drive and resolve is even stronger and we hope we can depend on your continued support. Thank you for your understanding,” said Dr O’Connell.
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