Tammy’s story

Dear Santa,

Asking for help is sometimes harder than many people might realize but sometimes a person, particularly a parent, has little choice but to do so. I remember a recently widowed father who came into my office a number of months ago. He had a numb sort of expression while he was explaining that he had never asked for help before from any agency but he had a water shut-off notice and he didn’t know how he was going to pay it.

He sat pretty stiffly and read to me a list of places he had applied to for work and where he planned to go after our appointment. He said he knew he only just started to look for work but the day before th day before he had buried his wife. He said his family had been just eeking by on her social security check after he quit his job. He told me that was a hard decision but he didn’t have a choice as he couldn’t afford the cost of care for both her and their preschool son who had just turned five. “Things will change now,” he said, “but it’ll take time and for now there’s no money coming in.”

I don’t know if you know or not Santa, but a water shut-off is more than just an inconvenience. It’s a way to lose your home because the Bureau of Codes have to step in. I couldn’t help but think of that five-year-old boy who just lost his mother and was in danger of losing his home as well.

Thankfully, this was a worry that we at The Salvation Army could take away with our emergency utility assistance, which is funded by generous community donations and this small reprieve would give this grieving family a little more time to get back on their feet.

The numb expression on the man’s face gave way to a look of relief when I told him we could help. His “thank you’s”  were quiet but his handshake said so much more, and then, Santa, he was out my door saying he had more job applications to fill out.

I often wonder how some of the people we’ve helped are faring and I say a little prayer. Anyway, if you have a chance this year, could you make sure that little boy gets something nice for Christmas?


Please help by giving generously to the Salvation Army and the Sun-Gazette Santa Fund.

You can help make this a brighter holiday season for local families by making a contribution in person to any branch of M&T Bank or by mail to M&T Bank at 405 River Ave.; at the Salvation Army, 457 Market St.; or the Sun-Gazette office, 252 W. Fourth St., Williamsport, PA 17701.

The Santa Fund is a fundraiser organized by the Sun-Gazette and the Salvation Army to help local families in need.