By Lars Trodson Correspondent
---- — If the value of a gift is measured solely on the positive impact it has on another person’s well-being, then even the smallest donation to The Eagle-Tribune Santa Fund will be one of the most worthwhile of all this holiday season.
Entering its 88th year, the Santa Fund helps thousands of families and children across the Merrimack Valley have a happy Christmas with vouchers that assist in the purchase of gifts and holiday meals. Throughout its history, the Santa Fund has donated more than $6 million, and last year 3,800 residents of the Merrimack Valley benefited from the more than $138,000 raised.
“Every year our hearts are warmed by how our readers respond to the need,” said Eagle-Tribune Publisher Al Getler. “The Santa Fund plays an extremely important role in the community, and it’s an honor to be able to use our media company to bring attention to and help meet the need in our communities.”
This year the goal is to raise $150,000.
It’s easier than ever to donate to the Santa Fund, Getler said. Online donations can be made at www.eagletribune.com/santafund and the Santa Fund now has a mobile app so that area residents can donate right on their handheld device through the website.
“It’s important to donate $5 or $500,” said Getler. “We always encourage groups to donate, whether it’s a high school or college group.”
Another new addition to the Santa Fund this year is “Where’s Santa?” Every Sunday in The Eagle-Tribune a clue will be published so that readers can guess at which local business Santa will visit the following weekend. The clue will be repeated every day Monday through Thursday “and on Friday we’ll make the announcement of where Santa will be,” said Getler. Local families are encouraged to visit Santa at that area business, he said.
Major Eduardo Feliz of the Lawrence Salvation Army said that the group is currently taking applications at its headquarters at 250 Haverhill St. in Lawrence. Area residents seeking a Santa Fund voucher are asked to bring a legal ID (driver’s license or any state issued ID card); proof of residence (utility bill) and legal proof as to their parental or guardian rights (birth certificates, adoption letters, or a judge’s letter for foster parents).
Applications are accepted Monday through Friday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. However, Major Feliz said that Mondays are specifically reserved for residents of Andover, North Andover and Methuen. Between Tuesday and Friday, residents of those cities as well as Lawrence are able to apply. There are extended hours on Thursdays between 6 - 9 p.m. for those that cannot show up during the day. For more information, please call 978-682-8038.
“I have been in the area only three months, but I see the need,” said Major Feliz. “Stores and factories are closed all around us, and it’s important to take care of each other. If we don’t, who will?”
Major Feliz added one more reason to donate to the Santa Fund: “If I help you today, maybe you’ll be able to help me tomorrow.”