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November 01. 2013 10:45PM

Season of giving starts with luncheon


MANCHESTER — Tickets are now available for the annual luncheon that kicks off The Union Leader Santa Fund for the Salvation Army.

The Santa Fund assists needy families during the holidays. The luncheon on Friday, Nov. 22, in the Armory at the Radisson Hotel, offers an opportunity to support the Santa Fund.

Mike Morin, who co-hosts "New Hampshire in the Morning" on WZID 95.7. will be the master of ceremonies at the luncheon. Morin also hosted last year's luncheon, which was on the same day Hostess Brands Inc., the makers of Twinkies, announced it was going out of business. Sensing Twinkies would quickly become collector's items, Morin brought a box with him and raised $1,000 for the Santa Fund. He persuaded Mayor Ted Gatsas to pay $30 for the box and inspired Gatsas to auction off the individual snack cakes for $100 each.

Attendees will have an opportunity to do some early Christmas shopping at the luncheon as there will again be a silent auction of a wide range of gift baskets assembled by individuals, businesses and organizations.

Keystone Press will have for sale its 2014 Manchester Yesterday and Today calendar, featuring city photos. This will be the 28th edition of the calendar.

Also for sale will be a book by Union Leader reporter Mark Hayward. "The Christmas Coin" is about how an early present almost ruined the holiday for a youth and is illustrated by youngsters from the Salvation Army Kids Cafe.

The program begins at noon, but those interested in the gift baskets are welcome to begin viewing them and placing bids starting at 11 a.m.

Luncheon tickets are $35 each or $325 for a table of 10. Reservations are requested by Nov. 15.

For more information, contact Shannon Sullivan, community relations manager, at 603-206-7833, or ssullivan@unionleader.com. Program book ads are also available.

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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