Northeast Times

Help local families in need this holiday season

Start­Frag­ment

Just the oth­er day, the North­east Times re­ceived an e-mail from Sue Ab­bott, a hu­man re­source spe­cial­ist for the IRS. She said she and her co-work­ers were in­ter­ested in ad­opt­ing an­oth­er fam­ily as part of the news­pa­per’s an­nu­al cam­paign to con­nect those who are strug­gling fin­an­cially with people who would like to ex­tend a help­ing hand dur­ing the hol­i­days.

“I real­ize it is early,” she wrote, “but wanted to let you know we are look­ing for­ward to help­ing an­oth­er fam­ily in need.”

Ac­tu­ally, Sue’s note was right on time be­cause the North­east Times this week is launch­ing its 57th an­nu­al hol­i­day ap­peal, the Elean­or Smylie Com­munity Fund. Smylie, a former own­er of the weekly news­pa­per, began this spe­cial out­reach at Christ­mas time to aid our neigh­bors in the North­east.

We are ask­ing you once again to reach in­to your pock­ets and donate so we can provide a tasty hol­i­day din­ner with all the trim­mings and Christ­mas or Ha­nukkah gifts for those who can’t af­ford them.

We want to hear from those of you whose hol­i­days may be bleak this year be­cause you’ve lost your job, your house is worth less than your mort­gage, there’s been a death of a spouse, or you’re a single par­ent who is strug­gling to put food on the table.

Maybe your situ­ation is dire be­cause med­ic­al bills have drained your bank ac­count, or you are eld­erly and your fixed in­come doesn’t match rising prices.

You are wel­come to write the pa­per a let­ter and tell us what help your or your fam­ily needs at Christ­mas, and we’ll do our best to ar­range some re­lief for you.

Or, per­haps you’d like to tell us of an­oth­er de­serving per­son or fam­ily that you would like to make sure has some hope and hap­pi­ness over the hol­i­days.

Don’t be shy. The more let­ters we re­ceive and the more money that comes in, the more people we can help. And that’s a good way for all of us to share in the hol­i­day spir­it.

Last year, this small mir­acle bri­gade was able to provide hol­i­day meals, toys or gifts to 117 fam­il­ies and as­sist three so­cial ser­vice agen­cies. That num­ber was an in­crease over the 82 fam­il­ies that were helped the year be­fore. We like the dir­ec­tion this is go­ing, and are ask­ing even more of you to be gen­er­ous. Any amount will be ap­pre­ci­ated.

Those of you who are strug­gling should send let­ters telling us what you need to the North­east Times Elean­or Smylie Com­munity Fund, 2512 Met­ro­pol­it­an Drive., Tre­vose, PA 19053. Please provide us with a name and phone num­ber of a per­son or agency we can con­tact to veri­fy your cir­cum­stances.

And those of you who want to give a dona­tion or ad­opt a fam­ily, please send your con­tri­bu­tion to the Elean­or Smylie Com­munity Fund, at the same ad­dress. You can give an­onym­ously or, if you would like, we will print your name and the amount on the list of donors in the pa­per.

You will be join­ing a good group of people who are look­ing out for oth­ers at a spe­cial time of the year.

About 35 people at Sue Ab­bott’s group at the IRS found it re­ward­ing to help a single mom with two chil­dren, who live with her eld­erly par­ents, who are on a fixed in­come and un­able to help. The mom had writ­ten to the Times that “her little boy was heart­broken that there might not be Christ­mas at their house this year.”

Ab­bott wrote in an agency news­let­ter that her group, Phil­adelphia Em­ploy­ment, “sprung in­to ac­tion like Santa’s elves and im­me­di­ately dec­or­ated their of­fice Christ­mas tree with red and green help­ing hands, each hand hold­ing an item from the fam­ily’s wish list.

“One by one, each hand dis­ap­peared from the tree and gifts star­ted pour­ing in. Due to the gen­er­os­ity and kind­ness of Phil­adelphia Em­ploy­ment folks, we were able to provide the fam­ily with a Christ­mas they won’t soon for­get, and per­haps helped to re­store their faith in the love and com­pas­sion of the hu­man spir­it.”

“The fam­ily was ab­so­lutely thrilled and over­whelmed by the kind­ness of total strangers. As we were leav­ing they handed us a cake and a thank you card to share with all of their IRS an­gels. This was truly a re­ward­ing en­deavor.”

Sue, thanks for con­tact­ing us and shar­ing your an­gels’ ex­per­i­ence. You and your co-work­ers have helped us launch what we hope will be the biggest giv­ing sea­son yet.End­Frag­ment 

You can reach at lswanson@bsmphilly.com.

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