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December 16. 2012 11:47PM

Mom hopes new year is bright

MANCHESTER - Jennifer wants to give her children a better life in 2013, starting with a new place to call home. But that future comes at a cost: once the bills are paid, few funds are left to stuff her kids' stockings with goodies.

That's where she's hoping the Union Leader Santa Fund for the Salvation Army can help out.

"Honestly, if things don't change, there are going to be precious few presents for the kids this year," said Jennifer. "There's only so much money to go around."

The 31-year-old Manchester resident, a single mother of two, works full time in the insurance department at a local durable medical equipment company. She says she works hard to advance in the company, but every gain she achieves is offset.

"I work hard," said Jennifer. "I've always been a worker; I'm not afraid of that. But I also depend on money from services, and every time I get ahead, the services go down. You work hard, but you can't get ahead. It's like one step forward, and then two back."

Jennifer said she is looking to get her family in a more energy-efficient home early next year, but is running into financial trouble.

"The place we live in now is so old and so cold," said Jennifer. "I had a place lined up, but now I'm not sure. I was counting on some money coming from a family member, but, like always, something came up. The cash they were going to give to me is now going to the car, so all the money I have is going to trying to get this place."

Jennifer said she has already begun discussing the possibility of no presents with her oldest child, son Dante, 14. Her 5-year-old daughter, Diamond, is another story.

"I've talked to Dante, and he understands the situation," said Jennifer. "He's on board with it and is OK with that. Diamond ... I just hope she can get a toy from the Salvation Army."

She's hoping the Santa Fund can help bridge the gap between paying the bills and providing a few gifts for deserving children.

"They've been good, they should get them, but there's only so much to take from," said Jennifer. "You have to cover the bills, and if we could move, I think we could save almost $200 in costs. But that doesn't leave much left over for anything else."

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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:

THE SANTA FUND
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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