The Salvation Army Santa Fund

Tammy’s story

Dear Santa,

There’s been a few times since I started working at The Salvation Army where someone has called me from an out-of-the-way corner at their place of employment during a break to see if we can help them with preventing a shut-off notice.  Many of these calls are from hard-working folk struggling to make ends meet and something has happened to turn their best attempt at budgeting “on its ear.”

I remember one call that came from a single mom of two elementary-age children. She told me she had been working full-time for the past four years and scrapping by, as she dug out from under some hefty bills. They had accrued, she said, when she was with her ex-husband who after seven years, decided he wanted to be single again and had taken a bus out of state.  She felt she was making progress slowly getting on her feet when the engine in the family’s vehicle went and she had to scramble to find another reliable and cheap car or lose her job.  The problem was that solving the transportation problem dipped into her bill money, leaving her with the next decision to buy food for her children or pay her utility bills.

“I thought I’d have more time to pay the electric bill before they turn us off,” she with a soft but shaky voice.  “I don’t know what to do.”  She also was afraid of her coworkers finding out she was looking for a “hand-out” as she asked me to wait a moment as someone walked near where she was huddled.

Santa, I was able to meet with this young mother in the morning before she had to be at work and we went over her income versus expenses.  As she told me, by living frugally she could make ends meet without much left-over unless she had extenuating circumstances. We also brainstormed ideas to find a way for her to start an extremely small savings plan to start building a cushion for her and her family. And last, with generous community donations, we were able to cover the minimum to keep her power turned on.

Instead of looking beat down when she first came into my office, there was hope shining in her eyes. She shook my hand and thanked me. “I’ll never forget what you and The Salvation Army are doing for my kids and me,” she said before she left.

Being able to help hard-working families overcome obstacles and stay within their homes with basic necessities such as power is one of the things community donations help us with helping others and I’m not sure those who plunk a dollar or two into the kettles or more, truly understand how much hope their generosity can provide. It’s a priceless gift.

Anyway, Santa, I will write more later.

Your friend,


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.