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December 23. 2012 8:17PM

6-year-old daughter requires extra attention


Six years ago, Pauline's father found out she was going to be born premature with some defects. He decided then that he would have nothing to do with the girl.

So every month he satisfies his legal obligation with a $380.10 check, leaving Margaret and her family to cope with the girl, who is now 6 and suffers from bipolar and attention deficit disorders as well as anger issues and muscular problems. She gets into fights at school and doesn't pay attention in class, her mother said.

"She knows something is missing; she's not stupid," Margaret said.

Her 3-year-old son also has health problems, so Margaret said doctor and therapist appointments prevent her from working little more than a shift or two at a fast-food restaurant at the Mall of New Hampshire.

So she is turning to the Union Leader Santa Fund for the Salvation Army for help this Christmas.

"They're good," Margaret said about her children. "They understand Santa comes. My daughter, I tell her we might not get everything she wants."

She tells them to appreciate what they have, she said. Margaret most appreciates her father. She lives with her two children in a Merrimack Street apartment. Her father, who is 65, is the maintenance man at the apartment, and out of his $10-an-hour wages he finds enough to cover the prescriptions that Medicaid doesn't may for.

"If my dad wasn't there for me, I don't know what I would do," Margaret said. "He loves me, but he's more worried about his grandchildren."

Margaret lists monthly wages of $338. She gets monthly child support for her daughter, and child support is pending for her son. Food stamps amount to $420 a month, and Margaret also receives fuel assistance and electrical assistance.

Margaret said her son's father works in construction and is frequently gone. But when in town, he takes both the children so she can work and have some down time. More important, he gives Pauline some hope.

"She loves him to death," Margaret said. "She calls him Daddy. He calls her his daughter."

Her children have a list of Christmas gifts. She tells Pauline outright that she won't get an iPad. So her daughter has settled on hopes for a Leap Frog tablet, a child-learning tablet.

"I don't have the $100 for it, but that's what she needs," Margaret said. If not that, it will be Barbie clothes and makeup. "Whatever we can afford to get her, she appreciates."

Her 3-year-old son likes the "Cars" movies and has asked for a train set.

For six years Margaret has turned to the Santa Fund, and she said it has always provided something, for which she is grateful.

"Even if it's a little box car," she said, "it's something under the tree."

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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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