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Yvonne Harte (right) next to Ruark Murphy, Ben Kingston and Ida Wulff. 
Yvonne Harte (right) next to Ruark Murphy, Ben Kingston and Ida Wulff. 

Last minute toy appeal collects huge haul for Cork Penny Dinners

CORK Penny Dinners will be receiving a very generous donation of toys just in time for Christmas thanks to the efforts of one Glanmire native, along with the help of a few friends.

Yvonne Harte was inspired to launch a toy appeal when she was moved by a story which hit the headlines in Ireland earlier this month.

"I was really saddened to read about the little boy who is in emergency accommodation and wrote in his Santa letter that he was worried about Santa finding him in his hotel room. 

"Leo Varadkar’s subsequent comments assuring children that Santa will find them in emergency accommodation really annoyed me. 

"How can you know people’s circumstances?" she told The Echo.  

With Christmas just around the corner, it was all hands on deck to make the Christmas dream a reality. 

"My housemate Claire Douglas and my friend Catherine Denieffe set to work last week. 

"Claire approached Penny Dinners to ask permission and they were delighted. 

"I work in a local business, Candlemania, on Oliver Plunkett Street and they could not have been more helpful in the lead up to the appeal. 

"They gave me boxes and were very obliging giving me the time off when we were collecting," Yvonne said.

Yvonne Harte, along with a few friends managed to collect a huge haul of toys in aid of Cork Penny Dinners just before Christmas.
Yvonne Harte, along with a few friends managed to collect a huge haul of toys in aid of Cork Penny Dinners just before Christmas.

Before heading out onto the streets, Yvonne and her group did their research and compiled a few suggestions on what gifts would suit each age group best. 

They then spend hours wrapping the boxes, making signage and scoping out the best spot in town to set up. 

Taking to the streets of Cork on Friday outside the former Vodafone shop on Oliver Plunkett Street, Yvonne said she was truly blown away by the support they received. 

In just five hours, the group managed to collect an impressive haul of toys as well as €750 for Penny Dinners. 

"So many people stopped and what was lovely was that people really put in the effort to go and buy something. 

"For instance, we had two elderly ladies who were going to give a cash donation but then decided they wanted to spend the time to go and choose something special. 

"When we were doing our research we found out that teenage boys are the most neglected group when it comes to donations because people feel at a loss for what to buy. 

"Cinema vouchers were one of the things we suggested so one man went away and bought €100 worth. 

"People’s generosity and kindness was incredible," she said. 

"Out of the money we raised we decided to use €360 of it to purchase Smyths Toys vouchers as we really wanted the collection to be about getting something special for the children at Christmas."

Members of the Connolly Youth Movement also gave a helping hand on the day and the large haul of toys are currently being delivered to Cork Penny Dinners, just in time to put a smile on the faces of children in need this Christmas.