The sleigh’s been put away. The stockings are strewn all around the living room. The gifts have all been opened. The reindeer are feeding on their usual bill of fare.
And Santa’s about to settle down for a long winter’s nap.
But before he does, he wants to take a few moments to thank everyone who donated to this year’s Item Santa fund from the bottom of his heart.
As of Monday, the fund has raised $48,733,11, and that’s with some money still to be processed and counted. We know that times never get easier, and that there’s never a year where people go into Christmas fully confident that they’ll be able to afford all the presents that their wives, husbands, children and other relatives and friends have expressed interest in receiving. So we truly appreciate everyone who put whatever money they could aside to help us realize our goal of making Christmas brighter for families in need.
Monetary donations are just a part of it. There are all the people who walked Santa’s Island with Lynn’s Dave Solimine, with buckets in tow, dodging rush-hour traffic, on behalf of our fund.
There are all the local celebrities, as well as Four Winds Pub and Grill owner Patrick DeBoever, to thank for their work during Celebrity Bartender Night on Dec. 20 at the Broadway establishment.
Then there are the members of the Essex County Sheriff’s Department pre-release community service program, who sorted out and unboxed toys for Item Santa at Salvation Army in Lynn.
And there’s the Salvation Army itself, which began partnering with the Item about 10 years into the program, which began in 1966. The Salvation Army processes the applicants, solicits the request letters, purchases the toys and puts them on display in its gym so that families can pick out what they need for Christmas.
That doesn’t happen by itself. Volunteers are needed once the facility is open, and people come through to pick out toys, and in all the years we’ve done this, we’ve never been without them.
We express our sincere gratitude to them all.
Most of all, however, we thank you, Item readers, for your continued generosity. It is not easy, in a season where the family budget can take a severe beating if we’re not judicious, to pledge $20 here, of $50 there. And with everything else going on during the season, we are truly blessed by all the offices that take up collections for the Item Santa fund.
“The response has been tremendous,” said Carolina Trujillo, the Item’s community relations director. “Year after year, our readers step up.
“It doesn’t come as a surprise to me the great response from Item readers,” she said. “The North Shore has always proven itself to be a generous community.”
Although this is the official end to the drive itself, we will not stop running lists of contributors until every one of them has been acknowledged in print. If you have not seen your name appear in the newspaper yet, it will in the coming days. And please do not hesitate to call us if you haven’t seen your name yet. We want to make sure everyone is recognized for their generosity.
Finally, although this is a seasonal drive, the need goes on 365 days a year. The Item, and the Salvation Army, appreciates and accepts contributions from anyone, at any time, with gratitude.