Charities that need our help in the run-up to Christmas

It can be a tough time of year for many, but there is an array of charities working to ensure that those most in need are not forgotten

The season of goodwill is almost upon us, but for some, financial worries, sadness and other significant stresses plague this most wonderful time of the year. Life is swings and roundabouts. Sometimes we can help, sometimes we need help.

So who can we turn to and how can we support the charities that help others this Christmas?

St Vincent de Paul

As the cost-of-living crisis bites, even the most basic, everyday item has become a luxury for some, St Vincent de Paul (SVP) explains, adding that it is now receiving “on average 100 requests per hour for help”.

SVP has launched Essentielle – “a faux boutique to tackle real poverty” which flips the narrative on what luxury really means. They’re asking people to consider donating to help those living in poverty who face many impossible choices this Christmas.


To donate:

If you need support:

Dublin Simon Community

Dublin Simon Community provides services to 6,600 people in Dublin, Kildare, Wicklow, Meath, Louth, Cavan and Monaghan, who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. “In the last year, the number of people over 65 residing in Dublin emergency accommodation has increased by 65 per cent, with the number of those aged between 45 and 64 seeing an increase of 26 per cent over the same period,” according to Dublin Simon.

Dublin Simon Community services include outreach services for those who are sleeping rough, long-term supported accommodation, education and employability services and tenancy support and homelessness prevention services.

Donate at

The Simon Communities are a network of eight local groups providing homelessness services across the country.


Marie Keating Foundation

Every year almost 46,000 men and women across Ireland are diagnosed and start their own frightening, challenging and often lonely cancer journey.

After the death of their mother Marie, the Keating family wanted to ensure no one had to face cancer alone and they set up the foundation to offer free support and care to men and women in towns, communities, schools, and businesses across Ireland.

This Christmas, the foundation needs to raise money for one of its most critical services. Someone diagnosed with cancer will face additional and unexpected costs of up to €1,000 a month, all at a time when they are forced to reduce their working hours or stop work due to their illness. The additional financial burden covers expenses such as travel to vital treatment and increased heating bills because of their chemo. This means that many people are forced to worry about paying bills instead of focusing on getting through their treatment and towards recovery.

To donate to the campaign, see

Anam Cara

Anam Cara will operate 14 face-to-face support meetings across the country throughout the month of December for bereaved parents. It will also be at the other end of the phone and on email for information and support.

Their website also offers help and support for bereaved parents, including podcasts, giving the opportunity to bereaved parents to listen to other parents in the same situation.

Anam Cara is launching “Lights of Love” this Christmas, and is asking supporters to light up its virtual Christmas Tree with a very special “Light of Love” in memory of a loved one. By donating, you will be helping Anam Cara be there throughout the whole year to support bereaved parents all over Ireland.

To donate:


Aware is inviting people to come together virtually for the Christmas 5k to help fund its free services supporting people impacted by depression and bipolar disorder.

You can show your support by walking, jogging or running 5k wherever you are in the country between December 9th and 11th.

You can register for the fundraiser here:

If you need support from Aware, please see

Irish Red Cross

The Irish Red Cross has launched its Christmas appeal, and funds raised will be used across a variety of projects both in Ireland and further afield.

One way in which money raised will be used is emergency aid parcels. During natural disasters and other emergencies, the Red Cross co-ordinates the assembly and delivery of parcels comprised typically of food, toiletries or kitchen utensils. Providing Red Cross food and supply parcels is a way to extend Christmas joy and love to children and their parents where there is too little food and too little joy.

You can make a donation at


Novas is a voluntary organisation working with single adults, families and children who are disadvantaged and socially excluded; primarily those who are homeless or at risk of being homeless.

This year the Novas Christmas sleep-out is taking place on Friday, December 16th. For more information on how you can get involved or to donate, see

Cope Foundation

Cope Foundation supports more than 2,800 children and adults of every ability to live “Your Life, Your Way”. It works to enhance the lives of people with an intellectual disability and/or autism, working in partnership with them, their families and local communities to provide a broad range of person-centred services and support. Cope Foundation has a growing network of 70 centres across Cork city and country.


The charity has launched a virtual campaign for Christmas called Light Up Cork to help raise money for the charity and to shine a light on inclusion.

To light up a star online, visit


Trócaire is encouraging people to consider giving the gift of love this Christmas.

Family food baskets, winter essentials, soap, menstrual dignity, emergency water and school lunches are just some of the gifts you can purchase to help those living in abject poverty around the globe.

To purchase a gift of love, go to


Bumbleance is the Children’s Ambulance Service of Ireland. It provides safe and comfortable transportation for Ireland’s youngest patients as they travel between their homes and hospitals, hospices, treatment centres, and respite centres nationwide.

The Bumbleance service is the first of its kind in the world. It has all the amenities of a regular ambulance but it includes the all-important extras to make a sick child’s journey as safe, comfortable and entertaining as possible. The aim is to distract, comfort and entertain Ireland’s youngest and most critically ill patients as they travel to and from hospitals and paediatric treatment centres nationwide.

You can donate at

Cope Galway

Cope Galway responds to the needs if people in the community who face homelessness or domestic abuse and older people who need social and nutritional support.

Its 2022 Christmas swim is taking place from December 20th to 26th. Swim At Blackrock beach, Salthill on Christmas morning or swim wherever you are – Galway across Ireland, or overseas.

Funds raised from the swim will help to provide vital support for families, men and women across Galway. You can register at

My Lovely Horse

Animals are also in need this Christmas. My Lovely Horse is a not-for-profit organisation where volunteers rescue, rehabilitate, retrain and rehome equines. They also provide shelter for unwanted and abandoned dogs.

My Lovely Horse has 40 to 50 dogs in its care at any one time and is fundraising to build a new warm, dry and safe kennel area for these dogs.

You can donate at

A Little Lifetime

A Little Lifetime Foundation supports parents whose baby dies at or around the time of birth. “Christmas is such a bittersweet time after your baby dies; all the world celebrates and part of your heart aches for your baby, all the what ifs and could-have-beens, we miss them so much, even more so during the festive season. It’s a tricky one to navigate,” says Aoife Kirwan, whose son Rory died at just seven weeks of age.

People can support A Little Lifetime by purchasing their Christmas cards or making a donation on the website. A Little Lifetime holds two remembrance services at Christmas, one in St. Nicholas of Myra Church, Francis Street, and one in Glasnevin Cemetery. It also hold has five creative workshops, most of which are led and organised by volunteers. Four are in person and one is via Zoom. The newly bereaved support meeting starts on Tuesday, November 29th, runs for four consecutive Tuesdays and is open to parents whose baby died within the past year.

To donate to A Little Lifetime or to access its supports, see


Depaul is launching an urgent Christmas appeal to respond to the deepening crisis in homelessness this winter. Appeal donations will help fund Depaul’s food and shelter response during these cold winter months.

Depaul currently supports men, women and children who are homeless through its 37 services across Ireland, and relies on public donations

Any donation will help to directly support vulnerable people to get out of homelessness. It will also help prevent other families and individuals from becoming homeless in the first place.

To donate or find out more, see or call (01) 453 7111.

Children’s Books Ireland

Children’s Books Ireland is launching its Christmas fundraising campaign, encouraging the public to give the gift of reading this Christmas.

“Right now, there are many children who don’t have access to books at home, and many schools with empty bookshelves. Just this year, we will have delivered over 113,000 books to children in direct provision centres, schools, hospitals and homeless services across Ireland,” communications manager Claire Hourihane explains,

To donate see

Family Resource Centre

Boyle Family Resource Centre are one of a number of Family Resource Centres across the country (

The Roscommon-based centre provides food hampers every week and tries to ensure that no family locally goes without at Christmas.

As part of its fundraising efforts, it is asking people to sponsor a turkey for Christmas dinner this year, at a cost of €16, and make a family dinner extra special.

For more information and to donate, see

Jen Hogan

Jen Hogan

Jen Hogan, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes about health and family