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December 17. 2013 12:55AM

Mom doing it all but could use some help

Mary has a full house these days. Besides her four children, ages 2 to 16, her 63-year-old mother recently moved in with her. Making ends meet was hard enough for the full-time accountant, but then her employer eliminated overtime in September.

"I used to work 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. I need to provide for my kids," Mary said. "Since they don't allow us any more overtime, it's been more of a struggle."

Mary's mother has been unable to find work, and while she helps watch her kids, Mary says bills have been piling up. "It's just so hard," she said. "My car broke down, and I have to get new tires."

Mary has two daughters, ages 2 and 16, and two sons, ages 6 and 12. She's hoping to provide them with some of the gifts she knows they would like for Christmas. At the same time, her kids know they won't be able to get everything, such as computer tablets.

On the other hand, Mary says her 12-year-old son is content to get gift cards; this way he can use them to buy household necessities, such as milk or school supplies.

"He's such a good boy, he's always thinking of his brothers and sisters. And he's a great student," Mary said. "I call him the man of the house."

The children's father is not in the picture, Mary says. He doesn't provide child support; he doesn't even visit his children.

Mary says she wants to give her son and her other children special things for Christmas. Despite the challenges the family has faced recently, she says she is grateful, and she wants to instill this feeling in her children.

"I'm really thankful to the Salvation Army for helping out," Mary said. "There should be more places like that, for people who struggle to provide our best, but even now are just struggling."

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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 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:

THE SANTA FUND
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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