“My daughter, a young single mom, and her two little children are living with me. It’s been very hard making ends meet each month. Anything to help make my grandchildren’s Christmas a little brighter would help.”
That excerpt is in a letter the Northeast Times recently received from a woman appealing for help from our Eleanor Smylie Community Fund, the annual holiday campaign that provides meals and presents to struggling people in our area.
It’s another year for our holiday fund, another year when individuals and families in the Northeast face the prospects of a bleak holiday season. Too many are hard-pressed to provide loved ones with a nourishing holiday meal, like a turkey with all the trimmings. Too many are feeling the anxiety of giving their young ones presents when there are the costs of day-to-day living to address.
That has become the mission of the Eleanor Smylie Community Fund. It was conceived decades ago by the former longtime owner of the Northeast Times, and this is the 56th year of reaching out to help friends and neighbors in need.
This charitable endeavor has endured so long because of the compassion and generosity of the people of Northeast Philadelphia. Year after year, your monetary contributions to our holiday campaign have enabled the Times to respond to the appeals of families who can only dream of providing that holiday setting of love, happiness and gratitude.
Of course, this past year — notable once again for a stagnant economy and more job losses — has intensified the troubles of so many. And those troubles are wide-ranging … poor health, the death of a spouse, job layoffs, family strife, old age. They are troubles detailed in letters that already have started to arrive in our office — letters sent by the people themselves or by neighbors and friends who want to discreetly tell us about a deserving family that could use the help.
We make it clear to our recipients that you, our readers, are the reason the Smylie fund can achieve some small miracles. Last year, your generosity enabled our holiday fund to distribute nearly $9,000 worth of holiday meals, toys and gifts to help 82 families in need throughout the Northeast.
Many of them sent us notes of thanks, directed in particular to the public who supported the fund and also gave them more hope and optimism for a new year.
As the holiday campaign progresses, we’ll be publishing the names of readers who have donated to the fund. Or, if you prefer, we’ll honor your wishes to remain anonymous.
The amount of money you’re able to contribute has never been the issue. All that matters is that you want to contribute. In the end, it all adds up to a lot of heart-warming gestures.
We gladly welcome letters from Northeast residents who are facing a particularly tough time this season and would be grateful for a special holiday dinner or need help with gifts. Or, if you’re a relative or neighbor who knows of someone deserving, tell us about it.
So readers, please, if you can help, send contributions to the Northeast Times Eleanor Smylie Community Fund, 2512 Metropolitan Drive, Trevose, PA 19053. Letters seeking help also can be sent to the same address.
But we do require some information. If you or someone you know is in need of assistance, please write us a short letter explaining why help is needed. Include your name, address and telephone number.
Also, we require that people asking for help provide the name and phone number of a person or agency so that we may verify a recipient’s situation.
For so many years, our readers have been so important to efforts to reach out to others in the Northeast.
Thank you. ••