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December 12. 2012 11:13PM

Mom of twins hoping for a Christmas miracle

MANCHESTER - A disabled mother of 12-year-old twins needs a pocketful of miracles to keep any hope of a joyous Christmas from succumbing to a pile of bills and despair.

"It would probably be very boring and very sad," Mary said of the prospect of a Christmas without presents for her son and daughter, who dream Santa will bring them each a Razor Scooter.

This prompted Mary to turn to the Union Leader Santa Fund for the Salvation Army. (See list, Page B1.)

"I cannot even afford to get presents," she explained.

Mary was born in Manchester and lives in the house her now-deceased Ukrainian-immigrant parents owned. The building is in need of repairs she said she cannot afford.

Laid off as a full-time secretary three years ago, Mary is disabled and behind on her bills.

"I have a first mortgage and a second mortgage and I have a line of credit ... I'm behind on all of them right now," Mary explained.

"I'm afraid I'm going to lose my parents' house," she said.

Mary recently began working part time as a billing clerk. But the job only promises about nine hours of work a week - hardly enough to put a dent in her debts.

She said she recently began working with The Way Home, a nonprofit agency that helps low-income people find affordable housing, to apply for reduced mortgage interest rates.

"I'm very overwhelmed," she added.

Christmas will be a simple affair brightened by a foot-high, live Christmas tree Mary picked up at Home Depot.

"They (children) wanted a big tree. But I told them I can't get one and I really don't have any place to put it," Mary 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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