Black Santa Raises €28k Despite Restrictions
2020 marked the 20th anniversary of the Black Santa Sit Out at St Ann’s Church in Dublin. The pandamic put paid to a lot of the usual features that have made the annual appeal part of the Christmas landscape in the city centre. However, despite only being able to collect on Dawson Street for four days this year’s appeal raised €28,000.
The appeal was launched by Archbishop Michael Jackson and Dublin’s Lord Mayor Hazel Chu on Monday December 21. For four days the Vicar, Canon David Gillespie and caretaker, Fred Deane, and volunteers from the parish took the the street outside St Ann’s armed with their collection buckets. For the first time in Black Santa’s history, it was possible to make a donation online via the St Ann’s website.
But this year there were no choirs spreading festive cheer as and obviously footfall in the city centre was greatly reduced.
“This year’s appeal was very different. There could be no choirs and many who make the special trip to St Ann’s every year were not able to do so but Fred and I were more determined than ever to ensure that the appeal went ahead,” Canon Gillespie stated.
“This year, more than ever, the charities supported by Black Santa needed our support. We were lucky to be able to collect and we were relying on the generosity of those who were passing by St Ann’s and those who went online to make donations. The 2020 Black Santa Appeal raised €28,000 in just four days. This is an amazing result and we thank everyone who donated in person or online. Every cent collected will be given to the charities concerned very soon,” he added.
Over the last two decades the Dublin Black Santa Appeal has raised over €700,000 for local good causes. Among those to benefit this year are the Salvation Army, The Simon Community and the Peter McVerry Trust, all of which work with homeless people and also Protestant Aid, Barnardo’s, St Vincent De Paul, the Laura Lynn Foundation and the Solas Project.
Black Santa in Dublin is modelled on a similar appeal, which has been run by successive Deans of St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast for many years. It has become known as the Black Santa appeal because of the long heavy black cloaks worn by the clergy to keep out the cold. All the charities supported by Black Santa do invaluable work and every cent donated to the appeal is divided among them.