A Great Toy Giveaway will take place this weekend at St Francis Xavier's Parish in Falkirk thanks to the generosity of parishioners and the local community.
A parish appeal for toys, books and various gifts led to a church hall packed with presents, meaning struggling parents can give children a Christmas to remember.
What an amazing response to our Toy Exchange. This will lighten the burden for so many families this Christmas and it’s good for the planet too! @primaryandrew @Francis_Xaviers @StMungosFalkirk @archedinburgh https://t.co/csRLcr2bho
— Jamie Boyle (@Boylej1James) November 21, 2020
Parish priest, Fr Jamie Boyle, said: "What an amazing response to our Toy Exchange. This will lighten the burden for so many families this Christmas and it’s good for the planet too!"
A parishioner posted a video on the Parish Facebook page and said: "When Fr Jamie came in and looked at the hall and saw everything, he filled up, because I don't quite think he could believe the generosity."
They added: "Thanks to the generosity of our parishioners we have loads of great toys, games, books, bikes, prams, dolls...all free to take away and hopefully fill a child with joy on Christmas morning."
The Great Toy Giveaway will take place in St Francis Xavier’s Hall, next to the library on Hope Street, 10:00am till 4:00pm.
Archbishop Cushley is encouraging parishes across the Archdiocese to do what they can to support struggling families this Christmas.
He shared a message from the diocesan Caritas, Justice & Peace Commission on practical steps to help those who need support, particularly at Christmas.
Fr Basil Clark, who leads the commission, wrote to clergy following the recent World Day of Prayer for the Poor: "We decided that this was not the year for yet another special collection, drawing resources from the parishes. We want to encourage Catholics to act by getting involved in practical acts of charity, locally, particularly as we approach Christmas, which can be a difficult and stressful time for parents in need."
Fr Basil has highlighted the following to parishes:
The Society of St Vincent de Paul The SSVP do a power of work for the poor in the Archdiocese. Many of our parishes have an SSVP conference in which members quietly work to give support to the poor and work with other organisations in bringing relief to those in need. In our Archdiocese, the SSVP runs a Caravan Project, giving holidays and respite breaks to families. It's furniture project makes hundreds of deliveries of free furniture to those who need it each year. To find out more about the work of the SSVP in Scotland visit its website.
Foodbanks Many supermarkets have donation trollies available. Please consider adding a children's toy to your shopping list to make a Christmas donation.
Schools Local schools often have a keen awareness of poverty in the local area. Look out for appeals from your local school to discover the range of charity initiatives they may be running that you can donate to.
On a national and global level, it is easy to set up a standing order of even a very small amount to ensure you make a regular donation to charity. Some charities endorsed by the Church and which often run Christmas appeals include Missio, Mary's Meals, Aid to the Church in Need and SCIAF.
Prayer for the 2020 World Day of the Poor (Sunday 15 Nov)
Following World Day of the Poor, we encourage parishioners to pray for the poor in their community and across the world
Almighty, ever-living God, your beloved Son came to us in poverty
to win for us the riches of eternal life.
During His time on earth He taught us by word and deed.
From His death we learned of the immensity of His love;
from His resurrection we learned how to believe and to trust
that our lives have purpose from beginning to end.
Help us never to forget that every person has value and is loved by You.
Remind us that, as Your people grow older,
they do not cease to be people worthy of respect, understanding and appreciation.
Though the eyes of the elderly may grow dim,
we pray that their vision of everlasting life with You may grow ever stronger;
though their bodies may become frail,
we pray that their faith may empower them; though their minds may falter,
we pray that their memories may bring them comfort and peace.
Lord God, may we never forget your Golden Rule
to treat others as we would wish to be treated
and remember to apply that Rule most especially during the golden years of age.
Save us from falling into the trap of seeing the elderly as a burden.
We ask you, Lord God, to help us set aside material wealth
so as to recognise the spiritual riches of patience, compassion and love for all your people.
As we journey through this life side by side,
may we learn to support one another with the combined wealth of youth,
strength, wisdom and experience until we are called to the place you have prepared
for all those who are poor in spirit and rich in love.
We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ your Son,
who lives with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.