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December 11. 2012 11:50PM

Without car, single mom
 struggles to make ends meet

Nadia's life changed in 2007 when her little boy was run over and severely injured by a car in Manchester. Alfonso, the third of her four children, still requires surgeries to his leg.

She is hoping the Union Leader Santa Fund for the Salvation Army can make things better for her children this Christmas.

"Life is hard, really, really hard," said the tearful 39-year-old single mom. "I can't leave my kids. I can't go to school ... I have a car that is not good. Each week it breaks down."

She works odd jobs and does laundry and cleaning for others. On mornings when the clunker of a car doesn't start, she walks several miles up and down Wellington Road to work.

Her eldest daughter, Sonia, said her mother was so desperate to find a way to get more reliable transportation, she tried to contact television talk show host Ellen DeGeneres to see if she would donate a car to the family.

Asked what she thought Alfonso, now 11, would like for Christmas, she said: "A car. A real car, not a toy."

But she did say that he would enjoy playing with Transformers and Power Rangers action figures and wears pants size 5 and could use a pair or two.

Ana, age 5, is a "girly girl," Nadia said, and would enjoy princess dolls and a tea party and kitchen set for Christmas. She wears anything pink and has a boot size of 3. Winter boots and shoes would be helpful.

Nadia also has a baby boy, 1, Her face lit up as she described him as "cute." She said he would like any and all kinds of baby toys.

Sonia, 14, speaks flawless English, and enjoys shopping for herself at the Mall of New Hampshire. A gift certificate there would be a great thing, she said.

While the other kids all go to school, the baby needs to be cared for while Nadia works at $8-an-hour jobs; his care takes much of her pay, she said.

She said she is hopeful that the New Year will be better and that the phone will ring and it will be TV's Ellen.

"We are very, very poor. It's so hard," she said.

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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 www.unionleader.com/santafund.

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.

How to donate

Santa Fund donations can be made by completing the online form by clicking "Donate" below or send a check to:

c/o New Hampshire Union Leader
P.O. Box 9555
Manchester, NH 03108

You can also drop off the printed form in our newspaper and a donation in the Santa Fund box at the Union Leader, 100 William Loeb Drive in Manchester from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. We will also have a donation drop box at the Intown Manchester Holiday Market on Thursday, November 29 and every Thursday in December.

Share a holiday greeting

With your donation, the Union Leader will publish a short holiday message in the newspaper. Just write it up exactly as you would have it appear, printing clearly, and mail it along with your donation. If you prefer to donate online, follow the link on the page following the transaction to submit a Christmas message.

For more information, please contact Shannon Sullivan, Union Leader Community Relations Manager, at (603) 206-7833 or ssullivan@unionleader.com

The Union Leader Santa Fund is a community tradition that has supported the Salvation Army for more than 50 years. The Santa Fund was first established at the Post Office Fruit in Manchester after a chance 1959 meeting between the Salvation Army major and the then-editor of the Union Leader.

In its first year, the Santa Fund brought in $1,000 to support the Salvation Armys Christmas effort. Since then, the Santa Fund has raised nearly $6.8 million, thanks to the generosity of the community and local businesses. Santa Fund dollars continue to provide warm clothing, meals and toys during the holidays, as well as support Kids Caf, summer camps and other critical programs throughout the year. Last year's drive brought in over $240,000 thanks to the generosity of local businesses and residents, bringing the lifetime total to nearly $6.8 million.

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