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Over 1,600 struggling mums ask charity for help with Christmas

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Emily Watson, co-founder of Laken and Emily’s Baby Bank, with her sister Faye who also volunteers at the good cause

Emily Watson, co-founder of Laken and Emily’s Baby Bank, with her sister Faye who also volunteers at the good cause

Emily Watson, co-founder of Laken and Emily’s Baby Bank, with her sister Faye who also volunteers at the good cause

More than 1,600 mothers have already approached a voluntary organisation for help in getting their children toys for Christmas.

There is 'real fear' out there that mothers will have to watch their 'child's face fall' on December 25, says Emily and Laken's Baby Bank.

It has had pleas for help from across the country since its toy appeal began on November 1.

Since then, 1,634 women have added their names to the list for toys from the ten centres where the baby bank now operate from.

Last year, the group managed to get toys for 2,500 children on its Santa list but co-founder Emily Watson expects demand will rise this year.

"Already there's a surge of demand only ten days into the appeal from mums who are really struggling but don't want their children to suffer on Christmas morning," she said.

"We have families from all backgrounds and kids of all ages.

"We have mums living in emergency accommodation, mums on the streets and even mums who have a home but by the time they pay the bills they have barely enough for food for the week."

But she said: "We aren't getting wish-lists. There are no mums contacting us to make demands that their child wants an Xbox or the latest bike.

"They tell us what their child is interested in and we try to match that with a toy, depending on the donations we receive to buy them.

"They genuinely do not mind as long as their child gets something."

She said the group was answering more than 2,000 calls a month from mums and pregnant women who have no toiletries to bring to hospital with them.

"We are constantly running low on donated stocks of nappies and milk formula as well as now trying to help for Christmas," said Ms Watson.

"More families are struggling with Covid payments this year - families that may otherwise be getting overtime or more shifts in the run-up to Christmas."

Ms Watson, from Trim, Co. Meath, and Laken Mellor, from Kildare, started the baby bank group three years ago.

Terrified

"Mums are terrified they will have to watch their children's face fall in devastation when they see little if anything under the tree on Christmas morning," said Ms Watson.

"A local toy store, Gifts and Gadgets in Trim, has generously offered to provide a click and collect system so people can buy and we will collect straight from them and people have been so kind with donations already."

Anyone wishing to help is asked to visit Laken and Emily's Baby Bank page on Facebook.


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