Dundalk Special Olympics came up with a modern response to their traditional bucket day collection being cancelled due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
The club were set to have collectors in town on Friday last to raise funds, but with the cancellation of most public and sporting events last week, they opted to set up a 'GoFund Me' appeal instead.
In a statement, the local committee said: 'Due to the cancellation of all Special Olympics Ireland activities until 18 April, Dundalk Special Olympics Club had to cancel their scheduled annual Bucket collection in town. We have set up a GoFundMe page where Dundalk's community can contribute and support us safely.'
Club chairperson Ailish McArdle said: 'The health and welfare of our athletes, parents, community and volunteers are important to us. We are dependent on this fundraiser and will make the best of the situation.'
The Dundalk Special Olympic Club have close to 50 athletes members training in a variety of sports such as track and field events, swimming , football, golf, bocce and ten pin bowling.
This has been a special year for local athletes, especially after being a part of the Athlete Leadership program, Ailish McArdle added: 'The involvement of athletes in Athlete Leadership program did not only help to carry the load of the coaches, committee and volunteers but also set a positive example to fellow athletes. This brought a great deal of confidence and empowerment to Philip Hoey and Margaret Smith who both completed their Bronze Award.'
'As with many charitable organizations you have to keep on top of changes and challenges. By including athletes in the decision making as well as sharing resources with their neighbours St Therese, proved to be the first steps to the success of Dundalk's club.'
Patron and Director of Special Olympics Ireland, Dundalk native, Mary Moran said: 'The club has been so successful this year thanks to a number of factors- The volunteers and parents who give so freely of their time to support the athletes in the different sporting activities. This year we have seen a huge increase in the number of athletes joining the club and we have also participated in new sports like Bocce and Bowling as well as our weekly activities in football, swimming and athletics. The athletes are amazing and while they enjoy their sports and competing they also enjoy the social aspect of the club where they meet and make new friends.'