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December 23. 2013 11:30PM

'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.

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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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