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Bohemians launches direct supply of Christmas toys for children

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The Bohemian Football Club has appealed to raise enough money to buy Christmas gifts for the 2,500 children currently living in the direct aid system across the country.

The football club has partnered with the Bang Bang café in Phibsborough to raise € 75,000 by the end of November, which will cover the cost of € 30 of a gift for each child living in the international protection system.

Collecting Christmas gifts for children in direct care is now in its fourth year, but this is the first time that Bohemians FC will try to deliver a gift to every child in each center. In 2018, they collected enough money to buy gifts for each child living in the direct reception center in Clondalkin while in 2019 they reached 500 children in different centers.

The aim is to ensure that children benefiting from the asylum system receive a gift on Christmas Day, just like other Irish children in the country, said Daniel Lambert, director of operations at Bohemians.

“Children do not understand the complexity of why they find themselves in the situation they find themselves in,” Lambert told The Irish Times. “It must be so hard to be a parent and not be able to provide for your child the way you want to. Those normal things that we take for granted in our lives are things that they don’t experience in the centers.

“We want to make sure that children in direct care know they are not being forgotten. “

Last year, the group raised € 60,000 for freebies through online financial donations that replaced the previous toy donation due to Covid travel restrictions.

They have struggled to raise similar funds so far this year, with just over € 16,000 donated on Saturday of this weekend. However, Lambert remains optimistic that the number will continue to increase and says that even € 25,000 would be enough to buy gifts for a significant number of children.

All gifts will be delivered by DHL, which has offered its service for free, to parents a week before Christmas, he said.

The group has also been offered the use of a room at RDS where they will use lists provided by the Asylum Seekers Movement in Ireland (MASI) to sort toys by name, age and location.

Lambert encouraged people to donate online at gofundme if possible, but said those living in the Phibsborough area could also drop off new unwrapped (not second-hand) gifts at Bang Bang or the football club.

Those looking to help can also send vouchers for all to Bohemians FC which will be given to adolescents in direct care.