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Too many bills, too little income

MANCHESTER - Brenda Ames said she and her family are not choosy people. They like simple things.

That said, when it comes to providing Christmas for her two grandchildren, she can't even offer the small things kids long for, like hair and makeup products for an 11-year-old cheerleader, and Lego and comic books for her 9-year-old grandson.

"I can't afford it," said Ames, whose custody of the children five years ago coincided with a heart attack that left her having to take expensive medication. "I've just got bills like crazy right now."

Ames works in customer service at a retail store, but her $1,646 in monthly income doesn't come close to paying the $2,539 in monthly expenses for the basics, such as housing, food, utilities and clothes.

She puts many bills on a credit card and "some bills just go unpaid," she said. "I stretch everything."

Ames said she applied to the New Hampshire Union Leader Santa Fund for the Salvation Army to see if she could provide a better Christmas for her two grandchildren.

"It's just so they could get something good," she said. "I don't like to ask for help, but I have to do it.

"It's so tight in the house right now," she said.

She said the kids just want a few little things to call their own.

"We're not picky people," she said. "They don't want something expensive; just something they can appreciate."


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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