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December 02. 2013 11:26PM

Dad hopes for a better Christmas

MANCHESTER — A stay-at-home dad, Paul recognizes he can't afford to provide his little boy and girl with new toy cars or princess items this Christmas.

"I recently was able to get them a book at the dollar store," he said. "They were so happy with it. My kids are very grateful for whatever they get."

But he said he is hoping that this Christmas is different, so he has asked the New Hampshire Union Leader Santa Fund for the Salvation Army for help because his girlfriend's $1,600 per month income as a phlebotomist is not enough to cover the family's bills.

"It's really hard for us to afford presents," he said. "I really want my kids to have a good amount of presents, but it's really hard for us to do that."

Paul, 25, said he and his girlfriend receive no public assistance as they raise their son, who just turned 4, and their daughter, who will turn 5 this month. He said he is also a certified phlebotomist, but getting a day job right now barely makes sense.
"If I do, all of my money would go to day care," he said.

He said he tries to find side jobs to pull in a little extra income.

"If I can find a job, even if it's just cleaning up garbage, I will do what I can to put food on the table," he said.

Paul said his daughter loves anything that involves princesses, and his son is into toy cars and stuffed animals.

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 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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