In “A Christmas Carol” the term “surplus population” is used to describe people who have been marginalized in our current culture.
It comes into play once, when Ebenezer Scrooge balks at giving money to charity because there are already prisons and workhouses set up to take care of the poor and the homeless. When someone tells him some people would rather die than go to these places, he replies that if that’s the case, they should do so “and decrease the surplus population.”
Later, while the “Ghost of Christmas Present” is educating him on the plight of Bob Cratchit and his family, the spectre tells him he shouldn’t discuss things like “the surplus population” without knowing who, or what, he is talking about.
So what is the surplus population? Does this apply?
“I am a single mother who is enrolled in college, and have many bills to pay. I’m afraid I can’t get (my daughter) anything but my love.”
Naturally, this woman would like to give her daughter something besides just her love at Christmas, especially since she clearly feels the little girl, who is 2 years old, is an exceptionally caring child.
“Awesome,” is the way she describes her child.
“Although at this stage, they refer to them as the ‘terrible 2’s, my daughter has been the most caring, thoughtful and helpful (child) there is.
“When we do grocery shopping, my daughter assists me by carrying one bag all the way to the second floor. She sees that it is too much for me, and she helps me any way she can with her little muscles.
“Also,” the woman wrote, “I see now she cares for her little toys … I wish I could give her everything she wants.”
Perhaps the most poignant part of the letter is the suggestion, on the mother’s part, that she has failed her little girl.
“We ask you, Santa, to give her the things that I have failed to give her. She was a good girl this year and deserves it.”
Unfortunately, Item Santa receives lots of letters like this one, from mothers and fathers who are caught up in that cycle, and where trying to get out of it any way they can often leads to more poverty.
We hope to alleviate this suffering however we can during this season, and we desperately need your help. All throughout Lynn there are people like this mother who have to make hard choices about how to spend their money. There isn’t enough to go around, and something has to give. In this woman’s case, the one thing she doesn’t want to give is her child’s happiness. Can you please help by donating to the Item Santa Fund this year.
It is not too late. In fact, it is never too late.
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 visit itemsanta.org to make a donation online.
All donations are listed in 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.