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Annual Santa Fund kicks into full swing; donations sought

NASHUA – With 11 days left until Thanksgiving, and 37 days until Christmas, the holiday season certainly is on everyone’s mind.

Whether it be planning dinner menus, plotting Black Friday shopping strategies or preparing for visits from family members from far and wide, many throughout Greater Nashua already are in the yuletide spirit and caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season.

Along with counting holiday blessings, many in the area are looking to “pay it forward” this time of year and help their neighbors get through what can be trying financial times.

Once again, The Telegraph – along with the United Way of Greater Nashua – is sponsoring the annual Santa Fund to help those who are less fortunate by providing gifts to area children.

For five decades, the Santa Fund has helped brighten the season for so many, with hundreds of thousands of dollars going to those in need.

This year certainly won’t be any different, as fundraising already has started. Currently, more than $1,500 has been raised. The annual program’s goal for 2019 is $45,000.

“This time of year is so very special, and being able to provide gifts for children always is at the top of everyone’s mind,” said Telegraph Publisher and General Manager Heather Goodwin Henline. “Fortunately, our community is amazing at helping our neighbors who may be less fortunate.”

“People should never have to choose between paying bills and eating or purchasing Christmas gifts for their children. Thankfully, because of the Santa Fund, they don’t have to make that difficult decision.”

Three local agencies benefit from the Santa Fund, including the Salvation Army, the Front Door Agency and SHARE Outreach in Milford.

The United Way of Greater Nashua serves as the fiscal agent for the Santa Fund.

Last year, the program surpassed its $40,000 goal, ultimately raising more than $44,000.

“The $1,500 we’ve raised thus far is about par for the course,” said United Way of Greater Nashua President Mike Apfelberg. “We’ve had a lot of requests (for support) thus far.”

“We expect that donations will start to pick up soon, as the holidays arrive,” Apfelberg added. “The Santa Fund is very important for the community, and it helps fill a great need.”

Donations may be dropped off at any of the three participating agencies – the Salvation Army, 300 Main St.; the Front Door Agency, 7 Concord St.; and SHARE Outreach, 1 Columbus Ave. in Milford. Donations also may be be dropped off at the United Way of Greater Nashua, 20 Broad St. in Nashua, as well as The Telegraph, 110 Main St. Suite 1 in downtown Nashua.

Non-monetary donations being sought are gift cards, movie tickets, young men’s and teenagers’ clothing, graphic novels, pajamas, jeans, Legos as well as socks, coats and other warm clothing.

“I would say, ‘don’t forget the teenagers.'” Apfelberg said. “Sometimes, it’s easy to buy for smaller children, but teenagers, that group we are really concerned about getting items for.”

“With angst and all the things that go along with being a teenager, it’s important to remember that group. Gift cards are great for them, because it give them the opportunity to buy what they want, especially when they are out with friends.”

Santa Fund monetary donations are accepted online. Those wishing to make a monetary donation can use their MasterCard, Visa, Discover or American Express card on a secure online portal. The Web address for that portal is https://tinyurl.com/santafund2019.

Donations also can be made by texting 2019santa to 41444.

Checks may be made out to the United Way of Greater Nashua, with Santa Fund written in the memo line.

Cash donations also can be dropped off at the United Way of Greater Nashua’s office.

The deadline for donations of physical gifts is Dec. 20, and the deadline for donations in monetary form is Dec. 31.

Donations can be tracked at https://app.mobilecause.com/t/ck/27z9.