Can you brighten holidays for others?

“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. ••

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