Northern Ireland news

Trócaire says Lenten boxes should not be returned until it is safe

Trócaire is urging members of the public to return charity boxes when it is safe
Connla Young

TRÓCAIRE is urging people to hold on to their Lenten boxes until it is safe for them to be returned.

The appeal comes as charity groups across the north have seen a significant drop in donations as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

Trócaire traditionally distributes collection boxes to the public through Catholic churches and schools during the season of Lent.

The boxes are then returned during Easter week, raising significant funds for worthy causes across the globe.

However, due to Covid-19 restrictions this year's boxes cannot be returned to churches in the usual way.

The overseas development agency, which cancelled all face-to-face events and outreach work last month, is now aiming to help in the world-wide fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Trócaire’s Head of Region for Northern Ireland, Siobhan Hanley, urged people to use other ways to donate.

“We are urging people to please keep hold of their Trócaire boxes and return them when it is safe and possible to do so,” she said.

“In the meantime, we are urgently trying to save lives during the coronavirus outbreak.

“Supporters can continue to make donations online or over the phone to fund this work. We know not everyone is in a position to support this work right now, but - if you can - any donation you can give will help us to support the world’s poorest communities through this terrible crisis.”

Other charities have also begun fundraising drives.

Earlier this week the Northern Ireland Hospice launched an emergency appeal after its “community income” was “reduced to seriously low levels”.

The charity warned that if the situation continued it “would not be able to survive as an organisation”.

Marie Curie, which cares for people with terminal illness, has also launched an emergency appeal after revealing it is “also facing a devastating loss of funds”.

Meanwhile, Oxfam has warned that the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic could push half a billion more people into poverty unless urgent action is taken to bail out developing countries.

The charity called on world leaders to agree an ‘Economic Rescue Package for All’ in an effort to help poor countries and communities.

Jim Clarken, Oxfam Ireland chief executive, said: "G20 finance ministers, the IMF and World Bank must give developing countries an immediate cash injection to help them bail out poor and vulnerable communities."

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