One of the hardest things for many of us to do is to ask for help. That’s why I give great credit to the readers who have contacted the Northeast Times over the last two weeks to ask for assistance during the Christmas holidays.
These poignant pleas are coming in via mail, email and over the phone. I talked to a woman last week who said her husband is a disabled Vietnam vet and she lost her job a few months ago. She’s worried about how she and her husband are going to buy Christmas gifts for three children and a grandchild. And the last thing she wants is for her husband to worry about making sure the family has a nice Christmas.
Another woman wrote that a neighbor had recently spent a lot of time in the hospital and a rehabilitation center and is unable to work. “Children don’t understand the lack of money around Christmas, especially when all the ads on TV are for toys and fun games,” she wrote. “I hope you can help this family.”
I hope so, too.
For 57 years, the Northeast Times’s Eleanor Smylie Community Fund has been doing a wonderful thing — matching people who need help at the holidays with those who are in a position to give. The paper administers the fund, and all the money collected is used to buy gift cards and provide holiday dinners with all the sides for folks who are going through a rough patch.
Some of our neighbors have lost their jobs and others have seen medical bills eat away their savings. We know some of you have homes that are financially under water and others have suffered the loss of a spouse.
Whatever the reason, if you would like to request help, or if you know of someone who could use assistance at Christmastime, please take a few minutes to write a letter or email. You can reach us by mail at 2512 Metropolitan Drive, Trevose, PA. 19053. My email address is listed at the bottom of this article.
Tell us your story, and be sure to include a name and contact information for an agency or person for verification. Everything about the process will remain anonymous.
And if you want to donate, please send a check to the Eleanor Smylie Community Fund at the address above. Any amount is welcome and will be put to good use.
We will publish the names of donors in the paper and the amount given. If you would like to remain anonymous, we will honor your request.
The more you contribute, the more we can help our neighbors in need. If you do your part, many more people — including you — will have a merrier Christmas.••
Lillian Swanson is editor of the Northeast Times. Reach her at 215-354-3030 or firstname.lastname@example.org