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December 14. 2013 11:00PM

Mom won't let tough times prevent family time


Even though Nancy and her husband work full time and count their pennies, they come up short.

A refugee from South Sudan, she has been in the Manchester area about a dozen years. She works as a licensed nursing assistant at a Manchester nursing home, and her husband has a temporary job as an assembler.

But she brings in about $400 a week and he makes even less, and that's not enough for their family of five. A car repair or a doctor bill can cause financial havoc, she said.

"It's very frustrating to be working hard and you don't make enough," said Nancy, who asked she be identified with a pseudonym.

Christmas is an important time for their family. Nancy makes sure everyone is together, even if that means waking her children - ages 3, 8 and 16 - at 5 a.m. so they can open a few gifts and share some family time before Nancy starts her 7 a.m. shift.

"It's a very big thing for me," she said. "I want enough time to be together. It's very important for my family."Nancy, 40, has lived in Manchester since immigrating to the United States. Her two younger children were born in the United States. She divorced their father, and her oldest son lives in South Sudan with him.She has remarried, and her new husband has been in Manchester since 2012.

He works a temporary job, meaning the family loses out during times such as Thanksgiving week, when his company shut down for four days.Her younger children are excited about Christmas, and that is why Nancy has turned to the New Hampshire Union Leader Santa Fund for the Salvation Army. Her 3-year-old calls her to the television whenever a commercial runs for a Princess computer game. And her 8-year-old wants a tablet, something she has ruled out."I have to explain to him," she said, "that what we can't get now we wait for a later time."


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 8 a.m. to 5 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.

Call Shannon Sullivan at 206-7833 for more information.

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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