A health crisis is burden enough for most people but the weight presses down even harder on families facing economic hardship, especially during the holidays.
Two letters to Item Santa convey the pain and panic faced by two parents who hope helping hands and generous hearts can make the holidays a little brighter for their children.
One of the letter writers summed up the tough year she has faced in seven lines, describing how she underwent surgery in March and is about to lose her home if a new place to live cannot be found.
“I could end up homeless with my boys,” the parent wrote.
The second writer, with a letter as brief and heart-wrenching as the first one, is a single mother of two who received the great news that she is in remission from cancer, but still faces financial barriers.
“I need some help for a nice Christmas for my children this year,” she wrote, adding how grateful she is to have received assistance last year from Item Santa.
Item Santa provides a chance not only to share the elemental joy of Christmas with another person; it also lets people look for hope within themselves by feeling heartfelt charity exhibited by others. Item Santa has brought smiles to the faces of children who have the chance — thanks to the generosity of others — to open gifts on Christmas.
The philosophy of Item Santa is simple: If people in need can be shown the kindness of others then they can gain the hope they need to help themselves and, in time, help others.
Some of the people helped by Item Santa are new arrivals to the country facing the challenges of mastering English, attending new schools and finding their way around a place must different from the one where they were born.
Others suffer indirectly from the devastation that substance abuse visits upon families. Children struggle to sort out feelings of love and allegiance to adults in their lives even as those grownups struggle with alcohol and drugs.
Item Santa isn’t just a “handout.” It is a sign of hope in a time of challenge. Sometimes the people who are most in need of hope are those with the greatest capacity to share the gratitude extended to them by others.
The parents reaching out to Item Santa for help after enduring medical challenges aren’t asking for much. One needs a place to live, the other wants to return to a secure economic footing. They aren’t asking Santa for housing or a job, they are asking for help from generous people to make the holidays a little brighter for their kids.
Now in its 52nd year, the Item Santa fund helps to make Christmas brighter for the needy. To donate, clip the coupon in The Item and mail it, along with your check, to The Item Salvation Army Santa, PO Box 5, Lynn, MA 01903. You can also visit itemsanta.org to make a donation online.
All donations are listed in The Item print editions through the month of December and into 2019, along with a brief message from each donor, if desired.
Those interested in signing up to collect at Santa Island or any business willing to sell stockings should contact David Solimine Sr. or Joel Solimine at 781-595-1492.
NOTE: The application period for aid from Item Santa has closed and The Item does not process applicants. All questions about the program and distribution of gifts should be directed to Salvation Army at 781-598-0673.