Santa Fund ’18 donations still being accepted

Monetary, gift items are being sought

NASHUA – Saturday will mark Dec. 1, so United Way of Greater Nashua President Mike Apfelberg is anticipating a significant influx of donations for Santa Fund 2018.

“Things are really ramping up,”Apfelberg said. “We’re pretty excited to be doing this again.”

Apfelberg expects donations to really ramp up now that Thanksgiving has passed. He said organizers are seeing more and more come in by the day.

In addition, Apfelberg has been fielding questions about donations of items as opposed to monetary gifts. The answer is a resounding “yes.”

Gift suggestions include gift cards; Legos; baby toys; trains; twin and full-size comforters and sheet sets; winter coats and boots; games for PlayStation 4, XBox 360, Nintendo Switch and other consoles; and more.

“That’s absolutely part of what we want,” Apfelberg said.

Additionally, if any business is interested in taking part in the Santa Fund by becoming a collection site, they can do so by contacting United Way at 603-882-4011. Those who want to purchase and drop off gifts can do so as well at either The Telegraph, 110 Main St., or the United Way at 20 Broad St.

United Way is once again the fiscal agent for the Santa Fund, and is responsible for managing and distributing the funds to the three nonprofit agencies, which include the Front Door Agency and The Salvation Army in Nashua and SHARE Outreach, in Milford.

The Telegraph and United Way have teamed up to carry this tradition forward, keeping in mind those who are less fortunate during the holidays. However, the Santa Fund began bringing holiday cheer to those who need it most 57 years ago. The publisher of The Telegraph at the time started this initiative with the idea of giving local needy children a happy holiday. This notion of kindness has been carried forth since.

“The way the program works is, the money raised this year actually pays for next year’s holiday program, not this year’s,” Apfelberg said.

However, as far as this year goes, Apfelberg is unsure of the exact number of families who will receive help this holiday season, but said it should be several hundred.

He said the number of families also varies depending on the people signing up to participate through those agencies, providing the example that a family of four requires a bit more than a single mom with one child.

“Everybody likes to buy gifts for little kids because little kids are adorable, but everybody forgets gifts for adolescents and teens, and it’s a hard time of year for low-income adolescents and teens,” Apfelberg said. “There’s lots of social isolation and depression, especially around the holidays, so we do encourage people if they can, think about adolescents and teens. The best gifts for them are typically gift cards.”

He suggests people purchase gift cards for any of the department stores such as Target, Walmart, or any of the stores in the mall so the teens can choose what they would like. Additionally, any and all gifts donated must be new, in their original packaging and unwrapped.

“We got some donations from the Giving Tuesday, which was great, and I expect that over the next couple weeks, things will really kick into gear,” Apfelberg said.

However, as far as monetary donations go, the Santa Fund is still far away from its goal of raising $40,000. On Wednesday afternoon $7,771 had been Apfelberg remains confident that additional funds will be collected moving forward.

The Santa Fund is accepting online donations again this year, and those interested in doing so can use their MasterCard, Visa, Discover or American Express card on a secure online portal at, . An online receipt will be provided for each donation, which is fully tax deductible.

Also, in making it even easier to spread holiday cheer, a new text-to-give option has been made available. To make a contribution via text message, donors can text 2018santa to 41444.

Lastly, checks are also accepted and can be made out to the United Way of Greater Nashua, with Santa Fund written in the memo line. Cash donations can be dropped off at the United Way office.

Adam Urquhart can be reached at 594-1206, or at