Skip to comments.Santa Fund applications are on the increase
Posted on 11/26/2002 9:04:59 AM PST by Willie Green
For education and discussion only. Not for commercial use.
NASHUA Layoffs in the manufacturing and high-tech sectors are resulting in a greater number of people who need help in providing gifts for their children this holiday season, say organizers of The Telegraph's annual Santa Fund drive.
Employees of the Salvation Army and Nashua Pastoral Care Center, who oversee the application process and distribute gifts for the fund, say they are seeing a lot of newly unemployed people.
"Unemployment takes four to six weeks to kick in," said Lucille L'Heureux, a social worker with the Salvation Army. "More people are out of jobs. Teradyne made it busier."
L'Heureux was referring to Teradyne Connection Systems in Nashua, which laid off 120 full-time employees earlier this month.
Already, L'Heureux has received more than 358 applications a bit higher than normal for this point in the season at the Salvation Army on Montgomery Avenue.
The Nashua Pastoral Care Center, which is also processing applications, has received about 330, pushing the total number of needy families seeking assistance close to 700. And the number of applicants is continuing to climb.
"We're getting calls up the kazoo," L'Heureux said.
The two agencies will take more applications at the Salvation Army annex at 1 Montgomery Ave. on Wednesday, Dec. 4, from 9-11:30 a.m.
When those in need apply for help from the fund, they can take home new shoes, mittens, scarves and hats from the Salvation Army's clothing room, L'Heureux said.
"We've already given out more than 650 pairs of shoes," she said. These same parents will come back to pick up new toys and clothing for their children in late December.
Kim Odierna, business manager at the Nashua Pastoral Care Center, said single mothers with children typically head about half of the families needing aid, and the other half are two-parent families.
"These are working-class people who are just making minimum wage," Odierna said. "People just can't cut it, especially with the rents in the area."
The Santa Fund campaign was founded 41 years ago by then-Telegraph Publisher Charles Weaver Jr. to provide gifts for poor children in the community. Since the Santa Fund was established, toys and other gifts have been distributed through the Salvation Army. The Nashua Pastoral Care Center joined the effort six years ago.
The fund raised $58,016 last year. While no monetary goal is ever set, Santa Fund coordinator Jennifer Bower said contributions last year declined dramatically from the previous year.
"A lot of people were generously contributing to charities associated with 9/11," she said. "Most nonprofits in the area knew this would hit them hard. This year, we're hoping to rebound."
The 26th annual Santa Fund Run, held earlier this month at the north campus of Nashua High School, raised $4,000 in registrations and donations, and Santa Fund Night at a Nashua Pride game in July raised $1,825 from the auction of the team's Christmas jerseys, Bower said. Many toys were donated at both events.
Bower is hopeful that a new online system for accepting cash donations will make it easier for people to give this year.
Donors will be able to charge donations to a credit card at a secure location by going to www.nashuatelegraph.com/santafund. The Web site also will allow donors to make a contribution in someone's memory or honor.
Lynn Tryba can be reached at 594-6402 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
WHERE TO DROP OFF GIFTS
Here is a partial list of places for dropping off gifts and contributions to the Santa Fund:
Donations also can be mailed to The Santa Fund, P.O. Box 1008, Nashua, NH 03061, or made online.
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