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'Sometimes, people hit hard times'

MANCHESTER — Samantha Sheehan is working extra hours while her laid-off husband recovers from major surgery.

Her four children understand their parents can't afford to buy the "newest, hottest electronic stuff" for Christmas, she said.

"My kids feel as though they don't want to see mom work so hard. The two older boys, that's what they tell me all the time," Sheehan said. "That's not something you hear a lot from children. I'm very, very lucky."

Her oldest, a teenage daughter, asked for a gas gift card. "Nothing extravagant, for the fact that extravagance is something we can't afford," Sheehan said.

Her teenage son, she said, "asked for a ukulele because he wants to play it for his talent show at school."

The middle son asked for jeans. And the toddler likes anything Mickey Mouse or SpongeBob.

Without the New Hampshire Union Leader Santa Fund for the Salvation Army, Sheehan said, Christmas would be lean.

She said she would be shopping at "the Dollar Store, to be honest."

In previous years, Sheehan has volunteered at the Santa Fund, helping other parents pick out gifts.

"This is the opposite end of the spectrum," she said. "I do have a certain sensitivity toward people because of that."

While volunteering, she never thought she would end up one day as a recipient.

"I had hoped I wouldn't have to," she said. "It's there for a reason, and it's here to help people. I'm grateful it's there. Sometimes, people hit hard times and people need to keep their chin up until things turn around.

"Be positive," she added.


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

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.


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