The sixth annual WLR Blaas for Kids took place on Friday 7th April, raising money for a local children's charity through the sale of the Déise's favourite foodstuff, the Blaa.
This year, WLR teamed up with Touching Hearts, the charity behind the building of a new facility to replace the Sacred Heart Centre on Lady Lane, which looks after children from 0-18 years of age with additional needs. This new centre will be built on the grounds of St. Otterans in Waterford City. Although the project is backed by the HSE, the facility cannot be built without financial support and donations from the public, and the sooner we can raise the funds needed, the sooner these children will be able to get the care they deserve in an environment suitable for their needs.
To help us raise funds to put towards the building of this new facility, companies, businesses and orgnisations from all across Waterford City and County enjoyed fresh-from-the-bakery Blaas by Walsh's Bakehouse filled with ham from The Premium Butcher and a packet of O'Donnell's crisps in lieu of a €5 donation made for each Blaa and crisp combo.
Over 2,700 Blaas were pre-ordered before April 7th, with almost 3,000 Blaas prepared and distributed from Blaas For Kids HQ at Evoke German Kitchens, just off the Six Cross Roads Roundabout in Waterford. The surplus was then sold in the foyer of University Hospital Waterford, the mall in City Square Shopping Centre, on the main campus at WIT and Bank of Ireland on the Quay in Waterford City, where bucket shakers also collected hundreds of Euro in cash donations. The bucket collections continued at Waterford FC's home game V Cobh Ramblers in the RSC that evening.
Also as part of the fundraising initiative, WIT Arena held a 12 hour Spinathon with volunteers from the Arena and from De La Salle College 'spinning' on exercise bikes for 12 consecutive hours from 8am-8pm on Friday, April 7th.
The final tally of funds raised was a target-smashing €21,095. In advance of the efforts, WLR aimed to raise €10,000 for Touching Hearts, but generous donations for the charity continued to flow in. Speaking on Friday April 7th while the working total was being calculated, Gary O'Keeffe of Touching Hearts told WLR that he was 'confident we'll hit the 15K mark'; so the whole team behind Blaas For Kids is delighted to have raised so much money. The €21,000 will now go towards facilities for recreational therapy to help children with a variety of additional needs.
Dermot Dooley, whose son Darragh receives care in the Sacred Heart Centre, is spearheading many of Touching Hearts fundraising initiatives Speaking to WLR, he said "We're so grateful for all the support, not just from WLR but the Blaas for Kids sponsors Walsh's Bakehouse, The Premium Butcher & Dawn Meats, O'Donnell's Crisps and Evoke German Kitchens, but from the countless people across Waterford who have supported us and continue to support our fundraising for Touching Hearts. And thanks to all our volunteers and all the lads from De La Salle College and Ardscoil na Mara in Tramore for all their help on the day".
WLR's Big Breakfast Blaa presenter Mary O'Neill, said “Since we visited the Sacred Heart Centre late last year, we knew we wanted to support Touching Hearts through Blaas for Kids and we're thrilled the day was such a success”.
To see more about Touching Hearts and their advanced plans for a purpose built facility to care for children with additional needs or to make a donation to the charity, see TouchingHearts.ie.
Photos by John Hearne