hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

November 29, 2012

Every bit counts for the Santa Fund

The Haverhill Gazette

---- — It’s that time of year again, when Salvation Army volunteers are ringing their bells at the entrance to the supermarket and the Santa Fund logo appears on the front page of the Gazette.

The Christmas season is indeed the season of giving, not just to our loved ones but those less fortunate than us.

But with the pressure many of us face trying to make financial ends meet, the ringing of collectors’ bells and requests for help in places like the Gazette can be too much for some people. They have all they can do to stretch the pay check to cover the mortgage or rent and buy the groceries — and now pay the heating bill with the arrival of cold weather.

They’d like to help but simply cannot. A bit of resentment can even set in over the bell ringer’s clang or the Santa Fund reminders.

The emotions are understandable. There are some people who simply cannot afford to give.

But for the rest of us, even those who think a dollar or two or even five won’t do much for the cause, it’s time to think again. Every little bit adds up, whether pocket change into the bucket when you leave the supermarket or a $5 check to the Gazette Santa Fund. (You can even email a donation. See story, page 1.)

Think of it like voting. If everyone thought their vote didn’t count and the turnout at the polls were always low, the will of the people would not necessarily be served. But when the turnout is high, those many single votes have an impact. They add up.

The Santa Fund’s signature event, the Hole-in-One Contest at the Garrison Golf Center, has gotten this year’s fund off to a strong start. Last month’s 43rd annual event raised $5,232 for the fund, an increase of 25 percent over the total from the previous year’s contest. As always, Garrison owners Ted and Mary Murphy and their family did a great job hosting the contest. They encourage residents to donate whatever they can afford to the fund, so local families who are struggling can have a cheerful holiday season.

All money donated to the Gazette Santa fund is distributed by organizations such as the Salvation Army and Community Action to Haverhill people who need help.

Perhaps those whose pockets are a little deeper can give a larger amount than others, further boosting the total.

And as always, the fund has a purpose beyond helping those in need. It has a sentimental component, allowing donors to give money in memory of a loved one.

No matter what the motivation, maybe this year many or most of us can find a way to do with one fewer gift under the tree. The money saved, however modest an amount, can go the Santa Fund.

It might help provide a gift for a young child who otherwise would receive nothing.