Samaritans in Galway are reminding those in need, that their helpline will be open during their darkest hours, if they are lonely or struggling to cope this Christmas.
Volunteers on the 24-hour-helpline answered almost 40,000 calls in Ireland in December last year, with more than 50 volunteers answering over 1,150 calls and written contacts on Christmas Day alone.
Landmarks across Galway and Mayo are also lighting up green to mark the Longest Night, to show people Samaritans are here for them during the long dark nights.
Turning GREEN on Monday 21st December - the Winter Solstice - to support Samaritans Christmas Campaign are, NUIG Quadrangle, GMIT, Browne Doorway in Eyre Square, St Nicholas Collegiate Church, Galway Harbour Masters Building, Athenry Heritage Centre, Tuam Town Clock, Claregalway Castle and many others.
Galway Samaritans deeply appreciate the involvement of all these participants. Thank You.
Please also support those guys in Handsome Burger of Dominick Street. On 21st December they are donating their takings from sales in Galway and Athlone to GALWAY SAMARITANS. Please support this generous gesture.
Catherine Emerson, Samaritans Galway Branch Director, said: "It has been an unprecedented year with the pandemic affecting so many people's health and wellbeing and this will be a very different Christmas for many people."
We know that people struggle more at Christmas, as it's a time when loneliness can really hit home. We want people to know that we are available 24/7 for everyone on freephone 116 123 or email [email protected]
Catherine also wishes to express the gratitude of Galway Samaritans for the support provided by all organisations that have agreed to "Light-up-Green". "Your support on the Longest Night, helps us to get the message out, that we're there for everyone during the long dark winter nights."
Among the volunteers on duty in Galway this Christmas Day will be Anne Wynne and Nancy Nally, who will be on duty together.
"Over the past 14 years, it has become part of my Christmas Day," said Anne, who has only missed Christmas twice since she joined the branch.
This will be Nancy's first Christmas answering the phones, and she is looking forward to it.
"I might be the only voice speaking to the people who call us on Christmas Day. What is usually such a happy family day for most of us, is not like that for many others. Hopefully being there to listen, no judgements. with kindness and empathy might help someone out there."
"We've had lots of calls from Prisons. Covid restrictions have hit them so hard, as they cant have visits" she added.
Samaritans Galway are also appealing for funds to support its branch this Christmas. Donations can be made directly to your local branch via the donate link at idonate.ie/galwaysamaritans
For anyone interested in learning more about volunteering, please contact Mary at [email protected]
Or phone 086 2468203. more information on www.samaritans.ie