Founded more than 60 years ago and unique to the GE River Works plant, the Good Neighbor Fund is exclusively funded by employee charitable donations, said GE River Works spokesman Richard Gorham, with all the money donated to charitable causes.
Good Neighbor Fund has donated money to Item Santa for almost half of Item Santa's 52 years of charitable giving.
"We have funded them for a long time," Gorham said.
Item Santa is close to Good Neighbor Fund Treasurer and GE employee Walter Guptill's heart. His late father, Walter R. Guptill Jr., worked for The Item and Guptill's mother, Mary, donates annually to Item Santa in her late husband's name.
Walter Guptill reads letters to Item Santa published every holiday season in The Item and said he is always moved by the plight of single mothers with children seeking even a little help from Item Santa.
"Most people who contribute to the Good Neighbor Fund appreciate the greater good that Item Santa does," Guptill said.
He said supporting Item Santa is near and dear to his 4,700 River Works coworkers.
"We know the impact it has on so many lives," he said.
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, P.O. 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.