The Salvation Army Santa Fund

Dear Santa,

I imagine you are busy reviewing your lists while your elves are working towards that last push to get everything done in time. And if I remember right, singing while they do so. Curious, did the karaoke help the newer elves with staying in key as they sing?

It’s been action-packed here with all the families calling and coming in. I tell you, some of the stories they share as they look for hope and help are truly heart-breaking… families who have lost everything from fire, parents in the hospital, single parents who have fled from abusive situations, relocated hurricane victims, an increase of grandparents raising their children’s children … And I have seen so many tears of thanks this year as we hand out toys and food.

Then on the flip side, I had this adorable child of maybe four who came in with her mother so she could donate a toy. I learned that this little girl, after watching her parents give donations, asked her mother to take her shopping and insisted on using her own money so another child could have something to play with. I promised her I would personally see this toy go to a child and I thanked her. And what a huge smile she gave me!

All of this reminds me why I do what I do here, trying to do the most good.

We have a lot of good programs here. We have our food pantry as well as participating in the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) which helps to improve the health of low-income seniors with a supplement of nutritious USDA foods. And of course we have the Red Shield Community Garden which helps supplement fresh produce to food pantries, along with providing opportunities to grow produce and learn about gardening. We help with emergency assistance. We have our Project Break Through program which helps families break out of the cycle of poverty, plus currently we have a grant which allows us to set up matching savings accounts with these participants to help them acquire a long-term asset like a first-time home, higher education, or starting a business. We have our Golden Agers, which provide camaraderie, crafts, games, music, devotions, public speakers, field trips and a hot lunch. And there’s more too, Santa. Ask me after the holidays and I’ll give you the complete rundown.

We are able to do all this with the help of generous donations from wonderful and kind individuals, organizations and businesses who do their best to make a difference too. We couldn’t do it all without them. Kind of like you if you didn’t have Mrs. Claus, the elves, and the reindeer (and I’m hearing about abominable snowmen too…or is that just a rumor?)

Can you imagine having to research the latest fads and toys, make all the toys, pack all the toys, load all the toys…in addition to reviewing the lists, visiting boys and girls for all the breakfasts and photo shoots which you do before the holidays, impart all the joy and hope that you do, and then deliver all the toys in one night.

Good thing we have help, Santa! Anyway, I hope you have the joyous of seasons.

Merry 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.