Community Spirit

By Aideen O'Flaherty

THE SPIRIT of Christmas is well and truly alive in Cherry Orchard, where the community rallied around a family whose Christmas presents were stolen last week and raised over €2,000 for them and delivered bags full of gifts for the family’s three young children.

The burglary occurred at the home of a single mother and her three kids on Sunday, December 16, at the new Orchard Meadows estate in Cherry Orchard.

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Cllr Daithí Doolan, Marie Cronin, David O’Donovan; Orchard Centre staff, Rita Carroll and local resident Jennifer Carey

The Echo understands the mother, a foreign national, returned home from church with her young children to discover the break-in.

Jennifer Carey, another resident of Orchard Meadows, heard about the break-in and went to visit the woman and her young children, and after seeing the upset that the robbery had caused, she decided to start a donation drive for the family.

Residents, community groups and local businesses raised over €2,200 and delivered several bags of gifts in just five days for the family.

The woman, who wants to remain anonymous, said she wanted to “express my gratitude for the excellent gifts and support received from the Cherry Orchard community.

“We are so fortunate and blessed to live in such a caring and compassionate community.

“Our thanks to the donors and volunteers who made it possible, to help us celebrate Christmas with a lot of joy.

“Our big thanks to councillor Daithí Doolan for his support and alerting the community about what happened to us on Sunday, December 16.

“We also say thank you to the Colosseum Gym in Kylemore and also to the Bungalow Family Resource Centre.

“Our big thanks to Cherry Orchard Community Centre and St Vincent de Paul for the great support.

“Again, a big thanks to Orchard Lawns residents for showing such love towards us as neighbours.

“We also want to say a big thanks to Manna Charity Shop and also to Jennifer Carey who volunteered to collect the donations.”

Sinn Féin councillor Daithí Doolan, who made the community aware of the robbery after he was contacted by the family, told The Echo: “The community swung into action.

“Cherry Orchard made the miracle of Christmas come true for one local family – this was to compensate for everything robbed during the break-in.

“The single mother of three called me in tears last Sunday afternoon, her house had been broken into and everything was stolen.

“Neighbours immediately rallied around the family. The donation drive was led by a neighbour, Jennifer Carey.

“Orchard Centre opened their doors and made themselves available to be a drop off point for Christmas presents and financial donations.

“Collections were done in community centres, work places and sports clubs.

“The family sent out a message of thanks. This was a wonderful acknowledgment of all the work done to raise money and presents – this is better than any Christmas card.”

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