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