Getting involved in the giving season with Childhood Cancer Ireland

Siobhán Walsh speaks to the Cancer Society about their Christmas toy appeal in partnership with Childhood Cancer Ireland

As the nights get longer and the days get darker (even more so than usual this year it seems), there are still some bright spots to look forward to. Christmas lights adorn the streets of Dublin, friends and family make time to see each other, and of course there is a festive increase in goodwill. This last one was certainly on my mind while I was watching this year’s Late Late Toy Show, and more specifically the annual Toy Show Appeal. Patrick Kielty opened the show with a reminder of what this season is all about, “holding your kids tight this Christmas.” In a similar spirit, Trinity’s Cancer Society have teamed up with the Free Legal Advice Centre (FLAC), the Trinity Entrepreneurial Society (TES) and the Trinity Arts Workshop (TAW) to organise a festive fundraiser.

This Wednesday ( November 29), these societies have arranged a toy collection in partnership with Childhood Cancer Ireland, taking place from 3-5pm in the Trinity Arts Workshop on 191 Pearse Street. They are requesting that people donate new toys below €15 to the collection which will be distributed to children suffering from cancer in hospitals all around the country. If you can’t make it down on Wednesday they have also set up a Toy Fund you can donate to (the link can be found on CancerSoc’s Instagram or here). As well as the Toy Drive, TAW will be running a card making workshop from 3-5pm as well, so feel free to pop by to take a break from assignments and get into the festive spirit!

Fiachra, Cancer Soc’s chairperson, was kind enough to answer a few questions for me ahead of the event. 

Is the toy drive an annual event or is it a new initiative? 

This is the first year that we’ve done a Christmas Toy Appeal, but we’d love to be able to continue it into the future. About 200 children get diagnosed with cancer every year, so there’ll always be a need.

Do you have any specific toy suggestions for people to bring? 

We’re looking for toys for all age groups from 3-16 years. We’ve a list of nearby stores in our Instagram bio, but good options would be small Lego sets, small toys from the Disney store, or the model store on Hawkins Street (opposite Chaplins).

(Note: the list of suggested toy shops is also included at the bottom of this article.)

On that note, is there anything you would advise people not to bring? 

Not really. There’s loads of kids that need some cheer so there’ll be a kid for every present! The only thing would be things that you might need another accessory purchase to really use.

Tell us a little bit more about the card making workshop. Will the cards also be going to children in hospital? It seems like a lovely way to get involved for people who might not have the means to donate!

Yes, ideally it’s for the children in the shared care units. It doesn’t cost anything to get involved, and it can be as quick as five minutes to make a card that can make a real difference to children and families going through a really difficult time.

Just to clarify, will you be accepting second hand toys as well?

We’re really only able to accept new toys, or else used toys in like-new condition. Obviously with very sick children hygiene is a concern.

So if you’re around campus this Wednesday don’t forget to pop into Trinity Arts Workshop to start spreading the festive spirit to those who need it the most!

Recommended toy shops nearby:

St Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre: Cogs the Brain Store, Art & Hobby, Flying Tiger

Hawkins Street: Mark’s Models 

Grafton Street: Lego Store, Disney Store 

Henry Street: Banba Toymaster

Jervis Shopping Centre: Smyths Toy Superstore

Siobhán Walsh

Siobhán Walsh is Deputy Societies Editor for Trinity News and is currently in the final year of her English Studies degree.