Another successful Santa Fund season wraps up

December 30. 2016 9:51PM
Volunteer Jalen Barlow of Manchester grabs an armful of board games while helping out at the Salvation Army Toy Shop in Manchester on Dec. 19. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)

MANCHESTER — More than 10,000 toys, 3,500 meals and $40,000 in gift cards were given out this year thanks to the Union Leader Santa Fund for the Salvation Army.

Individuals and businesses gave nearly $194,000 so far to help those less fortunate. “If it were not for the Santa Fund, there would be many families in the Greater Manchester area with children who would have fewer gifts under the Christmas tree,” Salvation Army Capt. Michael Harper said Friday.

Each child received four presents that parents or caregivers picked out at a Salvation Army toy shop days before Christmas.

“Many might not have had enough food for a nice holiday meal either,” Harper said. “This is why I believe the Santa Fund is as vital as it is. It allows many of the families we serve to take their minds off of the overwhelming issues of poverty, and just catch a break for the holidays and be freed up to celebrate the greatest gift of all; God with us!”

The Santa Fund provided assistance to 1,116 families, including 2,602 children.

Nearly 400 people were provided food assistance.

The fund also provides an outlet for community members “to get involved and give back,” he said.

Harper said he is “just so amazed at all of the energy, drive to make a difference, and the incredible resources resulting from very generous citizens that make the Santa Fund so powerful year after year. To see this program performing at this high level in its 57th year is very encouraging to us.”

Shannon Sullivan, community relations manager at the New Hampshire Union Leader, said the program is comprehensive in not only providing children with gifts, but also with warm clothing as well as providing families with gift cards for food and various things.

“It helps the entire family,” Sullivan said.

All the money donated to the Santa Fund goes to help those in need. There are no overhead costs and there is never a goal set.

Santa Fund donations may be made by sending a check to the Union Leader Santa Fund, in care of the New Hampshire Union Leader, P.O. Box 9555, Manchester 03108; or by placing a donation in the Santa Fund box in the lobby of the newspaper, at 100 William Loeb Drive, Manchester, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Donations can also be made online at

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