Helping out makes people happy and happy people make me happy!

“I originally started collecting toys for my nieces and nephews. I have many, so I would collect them during the year, little-by-little. I loved giving them gifts, as we never had any growing up. I am the second youngest of 21 children. I was ten when father died. It was very hard on mother so I always helped her with whatever I could. I ended up looking after her until she died and I never got married. As my nieces and nephews got older they didn’t need toys anymore. One Christmas my brother told me about sending off some gifts to a charity so then I decided that I would keep collecting them. I’ve been doing it for over 15 years now. Every time I do my weekly shop I stroll through the toy section and I visit some toy shops looking for special offers. There is always a good deal somewhere. By the end of December, half of the kitchen is taken up by my collection. Then, two weeks before Christmas, my brother comes over with his pickup truck, we load it up a couple of times and then send them off to two charities. One of them is looking after underprivileged kids and the other is helping the Gardaí looking after struggling families in the city centre. Collecting them has become much easier now that I am retired, I have more time. I used to look after a neighbour of mine too. She is in a nursing home now but I used to bring her the pension and fill her buckets with coal and get her fire going every morning before I went to work. I spent 43 years working for the City Council, looking after the sewers around this area. I loved working there but I had to retire early last year because I had a heart attack, and got a pacemaker in. But I don’t like to sit around. I’m still in touch with my former colleagues and every now and then, when they are busy, I collect their children from school. Helping has never been a task for me. It’s just who I am. Helping out makes people happy and happy people make me happy!