IT IS the annual ten-day sit out pilgrimage to help the needy and less well off in Northern Ireland’s society.
And on Saturday, Black Santa’s first day collecting for chartiy outside St Anne’s Cathedral got a welcome boost when he received a £3,000 anonymous donation.
2012 is the 6th Black Santa Christmas sit-out at St Anne’s, when the Dean of Belfast will take to the cathedral steps to encourage us to dig deep for charity.
Supported by the bishops of Down, Connor and Dromore, as well as the cathedral canons, the sit-out will start on Saturday morning.
Last year £185,000 was raised when Very Reverend John Mann was the Black Santa.
He will be sitting out again this year and said he hopes people won’t be discouraged from coming into city centre by the protests.
“It is obviously a concern and I know that many businesses have been hit by the small number of people coming in,” he told UTV.
“But the signs this week have been reasonably good in that we have had several carol services, and there have been lots of people at them.”
Some of the money raised last year went to a series of local projects, while donations were also used overseas in India.
Mr Mann said people have been generous despite the tough economic climate.
“Undoubtedly, there are people that have lost their jobs, there are people who are very short of money and yet there are people with money as well,” he said.
“We had a fantastic anonymous donation of £3,000 today so money will come in with children empting their piggy banks into the barrel and larger donations too and they are all welcome.
“It is just such a lovely thing that people come up and they say my mother brought me and I am bringing my children.”
Black Santa will be at the Cathedral from 8.30am on Saturday through to Christmas Eve.