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December 20. 2012 8:46PM

Mom just grateful for help from Santa Fund

MANCHESTER - "Monica" relied on her mother-in-law to pay half the mortgage for their four-bedroom house, but the live-in relative lost her job two years ago and hasn't found a replacement.

"We burned through all the credit cards and savings," Monica said. "We burned through every last cent to pay bills; we don't have anything extra."

Her husband works two jobs to keep up with the house, which his mother co-owns, and the family receives about $250 a month in food stamps.

"There's no cushion left whatsoever," Monica said.

She has surveyed thrift stores and picked up a few things, but looks forward to the Union Leader Santa Fund for the Salvation Army to help make Christmas brighter.

Without the Santa Fund, she said, "I'm sure the kids would notice there's very little available."

Her preteen daughter likes Nintendo video games, but knows the family can't buy any.

"It's still heartwrenching to tell your child, 'We can't afford it,' for something that's so important for her," Monica said.

The girl loves to read, devouring books on her e-reader, which was a gift.

"We haven't been able to get books for her," but they use the city library, Monica said. "She goes through an entire novel in almost two days; we can't keep up with her."

Two younger boys covet Lego toys and Pokemon cards.

Monica said her family will appreciate whatever the Santa Fund delivers.

"Every little bit makes a difference," 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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