Dispensing Christmas cheer for Limerick children in need

Some of the donated toys at Alfie Earls Bar in Hartstonge Street.

LIMERICK publicans are well know for dispensing good cheer … but not usually to small children.

Alfie Earls is the exception this Christmas, having thrown open his bar to people to bring along good second hand or new toys so that families going through hards times can make Santa come alive.

“I was sitting with my son one day having a coffee and a man gave a present to a little girl in a buggy. She pulled off the paper and she had the biggest smile in the world,” Alfie told the Limerick Post.

It was that smile that gave him the inspiration for the ‘Put a Smile of a Child’s Face’ Christmas campaign.

“I went on Facebook, I went on local radio – I put it out to people who might have old toys that were still good to donate them by bringing them here to the pub

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“The response was unbelievable. People brought toys worth hundreds of euros – some of them still in the box, bikes that had never been ridden on the road, new toys and second hand toys in perfect condition.” said Alfie.

To protect the privacy of people who need to fill Christmas stockings, Alfie closes the bar in Hartstonge Street between 10am and 4pm each day.

“There’s nobody here except me. People can come along and  pick what they need. There’s no questions and it’s private,” said Alfie.

And it’s not just toys that people are brining.

“A man had just dropped off a heap of lovely toys when a lady came in carrying a child in her arms She asked if we had any buggies and I said no that some were coming in. But she explained she didn’t mean a doll’s buggy – she had no buggy for the child.

“The man asked her to wait and he came back with a fabulous buggy and a choice of three car seats for her – that’s how good people are.”

Donations of new and good second-hand toys as well as sweets, selection boxes and things like good shoes or baby equipment can be left at the bar and anyone who needs something can call and collect it.

“We’ll keep this going as long as we can. It’s all about people giving things they don’t need anymore that might be lying up in the attic an putting a smile on a child’s face on Christmas morning.”