Christmas cheer for over 100 children in family hub

By Aideen O'Flaherty

CHRISTMAS came early for over 100 children in a local family homeless hub, after Santa and his elves visited them on Friday evening with gift bags ahead of The Late Late Toy Show.

Sarah Notaro, 27, from Brookview in Tallaght, arranged the event after securing donations of selection boxes from friends and family and local businesses, who got behind Sarah’s idea to bring some Christmas cheer to the children.

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Santa and his helpers

A total of 127 children in a Tallaght family hub were greeted by Santa and his helpers, while the Tallaght branch of Supermac’s and Papa John’s brought pizza and potato wedges for the children.

Explaining why she decided to organise the event, Sarah told The Echo: “Last year, I had a tough year and I was really struggling.

“I was living in a tiny place with my daughter. I’ve moved into a different place now, but I got help from other people, and I just wanted to do something to help others who were struggling this year.

“I was thinking about the children in hubs and hotels, and I just thought that they’re stuck in their rooms all day long.

“I wanted to give them a magical experience.”

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All the presents being handed out

Sarah put up a post on Facebook asking for people to donate selection boxes for the children, and was blown away by the response from the community and local businesses, including Citywide Couriers and Twigs Afterschool.

This support enabled Sarah, her three-year old daughter Sadie, and seven other elves to go to the hub and give the gift bags to the children, and she specifically wanted it to happen on the evening of The Late Late Toy Show.

“I feel like The Late Late Toy Show marks the beginning of Christmas,” she said. “I thought it’d be so powerful to have Santa coming in with his elves.

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Sadie (3) and Sarah Notaro.

“I wanted to give them joy and love, and you could see that in the kids’ faces.

“When the children look back, they’ll remember that year that Santa came up to visit everybody before the toy show.”

The elves and Santa spoke to all of the kids – while socially distanced and wearing masks and visors – and they all got gift bags with sweets, chocolate and colouring books, while older kids also got selection boxes.

“I just want to say a big thank you for all of the donations and help I got from the community,” added Sarah.

“I’m so grateful and I want to do it again next year. I know that sometimes Tallaght doesn’t have the best name, but it was amazing how people in the community pulled together to do this.”

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