Tuesday 26 March 2019

Mallow Gardaí aiming to spread some festive cheer again this year

Locals are urged to 'dig deep' and donate to 'Operation Hamper' for 2018

Bill Browne

Since 2012, Gardaí in Mallow have been doing their bit to help bring some festive cheer to deserving families from the area in need of some assistance. 

Once again their annual 'Operation Hamper' initiative will swing into action over the coming days, with letters going out to local businesses requesting donations toward the cost of making up hampers for individuals and families. 

Garda Olga Smyth, who is co-ordinating the project with her colleagues Sgt John O'Leary and Garda John Fitzgerald, said they had been touched by the manner in which the local community had responded to their appeal over the years. 

"Since we started Operation Hamper, the response, not just from businesses but also from individuals within the local community, has been incredible, and it has been great to watch as the initiative gets bigger with each passing year," said Garda Smyth.

"Last year, for example, we were able to distribute more than 70 hampers to deserving recipients that we either came across during our jobs or who have been recommended to us by members of the public."

She said that people who, through no fault of their own, find it hard to make ends meet at Christmas find it even harder to seek a helping hand.

"For some, Christmas can be a very tough time financially. The whole idea behind Operation Hamper is to bring some festive cheer into deserving households that might otherwise be facing into a bleak festive season," she said. 

Garda Smyth said the ongoing success of the initiative has shown that there is a generosity of spirit within the local community and a willingness for people to help those less fortunate than themselves.

"Local businesses continue to come up trumps each year. The initiative has also been well supported by the wider community, with people making donations of all sizes. Now matter how large or small the donation, it means a lot," she said.

"These hampers may be the only Christmas gift that some recipients receive this year. With that in mind, we are asking that people once again dig deep and help us bring some seasonal cheer into the lives of those who need our help the most." 

Cheques and postal orders made out to the Mallow Garda Community Project; cash donations; and other non-perishable items for the hampers can be left at the front office of Mallow Garda station for collection. 

"Everyone involved with Operation Hamper would like to thank those who have supported the initiative in the past, and we urge people to get behind the campaign once again this year," said Garda Smyth.