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December 14. 2012 9:42PM

Santa Fund: What growing 3-year-old needs most is decent clothes


"Laurel" has one hope for her toddler son this Christmas season.

"I don't care about the toys, - he needs clothes," she said. "He needs mittens and he needs socks."

Laurel, not her real name, has a learning disability that has resulted in her being unable to find work. She has difficulty communicating.

Her husband works two jobs as a cook, in a pizza shop and in a college dining hall.

Through and individualized education plan and a lot of accommodation, Laurel managed to earn an associate's degree from Hesser College. But it required that she take tests in a distraction-free room, with extra time. Employers are not as eager to make the same sort of accommodations.

Between Social Security Disability payments and her husband's earnings, the couple struggles through every month. Rent for their Manchester apartment consumes about half their monthly income. Heat, light, phone and food compete for the remainder. Rose says that most months, they're playing catch-up with a patient landlord to get the rent paid before another month arrives.

"I'm behind on my electricity and my gas bill," Laurel said.

"It's not very often that we have something left over so we can do something for my son," she said.

The boy is 3. He's wearing a winter jacket provided by his grandmother.

"If it wasn't for my mom, he'd be wearing a jacket from last year," she said. "That's how hard it is for us."

Laurel hopes she can get another year out of the boy's winter boots from last year, a tough thing to wish for when the boy seems to be growing daily.

The family, she said, just wants to make sure their son has the essentials.

"Toys are not what I'm worried about," Laurel said, looking to the holiday. "I just want to see that he has clothes."


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 ?nancially 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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