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Tough times, but a better life for son

Elias Torres always pays the rent. Always.

"We always make sure we have a roof over our heads," he said.

After that, it's a guessing game as to what gets paid. One thing that won't be at the house this Christmas, without the help of the New Hampshire Union Leader Santa Fund for the Salvation Army, is gifts for his 6-year-old son, who wants toys based on the characters from Transformers, Power Rangers and Angry Birds.

"It would be a very dull one," he said of a Christmas without help from the Santa Fund. (See list, Page B1.)

Torres works as a licensed nursing assistant at a nursing home, where he tries to pick up extra hours to help pay the bills. On his application to the Santa Fund, he listed $2,279 in monthly income, which is all he has to pay the more than $3,000 in monthly bills.

"I'm barely making ends meet, but I'm trying," he said. "It's just hard, you know?"

Torres said he moved to New Hampshire to get his son out of Bridgeport, Conn., where he said he grew up in a rough part of town.

"It's very peaceful here," he said. "I never hear sirens where I live, unless it's an ambulance going by."

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The generosity of Santa Fund donors makes it possible for the holidays to still be a joyful time. The Santa Fund makes food, clothing and gifts available during the holiday season, so financially stressed families can put their resources toward paying bills for basic needs.

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 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Donations can also be made online at

Every effort is made to promptly publish Santa Fund contributions. Donors who wish to see their contributions listed before Christmas are encouraged to submit them as soon as possible. The Union Leader publishes photos of donors of $1,000 or more.

For more information, call Christy DeTrude at 668-4321, ext. 507.


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