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December 19. 2012 11:09PM

Dry cleaners' donations prove they're no stuffed shirt

The owner of a dry cleaning business and his manager attended the Union Leader Santa Fund for the Salvation Army kickoff luncheon Nov. 16 and were inspired to find a way to raise money for the Santa Fund.

They had already contributed a basket offering a variety of services for the silent auction at the luncheon, but they wanted to do more.

Manager Shelley Therrien said the company has worked with the Salvation Army before. "I knew I wanted to do some kind of community service," she said, so she spoke with the Manchester Corps Salvation Army Lieutenants Herb and Mirim Rader. "I asked them what kinds of things they really needed," she said.

The Raders said warm clothing, including sweaters, shirts, socks and boots, for clients, so that's what the company did at its brick and mortar locations: Pro Image Dry Cleaner in the Shaw's Plaza at 379 South Willow St., and Professional Image Dry Cleaner & Coin Laundromat in the Clearbrook Center Plaza, 11 Manchester Road, Derry.

But after attending the Santa Fund luncheon, Therrien said, they wanted to do more. The answer was a coupon book offering $70 worth of services for a $20 donation to the Santa Fund.

The coupons were offered to customers at the Manchester and Derry locations, and Pressed 4 Time, the mobile dry cleaning company that does pickup and drop-off service in Southern New Hampshire and part of Northern Massachusetts.

"A lot of customers were happy to give," said Therrien. "We got a thousand dollars of donations," she said, and the company will continue selling the fundraiser coupons until they run out.

The coupons, good until March 13, 2013, offer customers seven free services, among them: one men's or women's top or bottom clothing piece, shoe shine, alteration, and wash, dry and fold of a 10-pound load, except comforters.

Therrien said the Santa Fund coupon offer has been so well-received. she expects the company will do the same fundraiser next year.

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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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