Suddenly, it seems, the season is almost upon us. And we need your help.
Actually, throughout the Northeast, there are individuals and families who need your help. You have given so much in the past to give them promise and hope during what could be an otherwise hopeless holiday season.
So we are calling on Northeast Times readers once again.
Your financial contributions to the Northeast Times Eleanor Smylie Community Fund do so much to help less fortunate people in the Northeast enjoy a nourishing holiday meal or presents under the tree.
Readers of the Times are the reason the fund has existed for 56 years, started so long ago by Eleanor Smylie, the late chairwoman and matriarch of the family that owned the newspaper for 65 years.
The charitable fund has relied on the compassion of our readers, whose good hearts and eagerness to help less fortunate people in our area make this very special time of year just a bit brighter.
“My friend, a single mother of five, is unable to work and relies on Social Security disability each month,” recently wrote one woman on behalf of a friend. “She is doing what she can to keep her family together. I know the family would be grateful for any help at the holidays.”
There is a common theme to the predicaments of these people, these fellow residents of the Northeast. Many in need of a holiday meal have written to us with sorrowful stories of how illness has changed their lives or brought unexpected expenses. Others have been confronted with a job loss without warning. For others, a death — a close family member, perhaps even a dear friend — has had a profound impact that is even more pronounced at this time of year.
And most of these people in need of help express sincere appreciation for whatever can be done. They appreciate that a gesture as symbolic as a holiday meal or presents for children can do so much, and mean so much, to bring light to a time of year that otherwise would be without good times or family togetherness. They look toward the new year with anticipation.
From one holiday season to the next, our readers have always come through. Last year, for example, your contributions 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.
This important mission can’t be achieved without you. And we know that these very difficult economic times make it even tougher.
We will provide those meals and presents again.
“My hours at work were cut in half and I am struggling to keep my apartment,” wrote one person in a letter to the Times. “I’m worried that I will not be able to give my family a Christmas.”
As the 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.
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, 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.
We appreciate what you do to help them enjoy a holiday that’s a bit happier, and one that does wonders for faith in others.
The donations have started to arrive, and we’d like to thank these initial contributors to the fund:
• James Albert: $20
• Bruce C., Frankford: $3
• Linda Mount: $25
• Frances Petrella: $10
• Doris Riso: $20
• Tara Rodzwic: $25
• Adeline Vernacchio: $10
• Raymond Wrubel: $5
• In memory of Margaret Evans Tarpinian: $25
Total: $ 143.00