The last five years have been marked by the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, and as a result many families have faced the prospect of losing their house.
Some have staved off foreclosure, while many thousands of others have not been so fortunate, leaving their lives upended and their children forced to adjust quickly to difficult conditions.
One mother wrote to Globe Santa this year to say that she and her 2-year-old son have been living for the last several months in a family shelter south of Boston.
Following a painful divorce last year, she tried several times to modify the terms of her house loan, but the bank foreclosed on the property and it was sold at auction, she said.
Despite the disappointment, the single mother writes that she has picked up the pieces as best she can and is working hard to build a better life for herself and her son.
“I am currently enrolled in my second year of college at Massasoit Community College and am also working part time” she said in her letter.
The separation from his father and the upheaval of moving from their hometown on Cape Cod to an unfamiliar area have been hard on the little boy, and his mother wants him to celebrate Christmas the way his friends do, with gifts from Santa.
A lack of affordable child care has made picking up extra hours at work impossible, she continued, and with Christmas fast approaching, she realized a few months ago that she would need a hand from Globe Santa if her son was to have a holiday to remember.
As someone who grew up in the area, the boy’s mother knew that Globe Santa was her best hope.
Since 1956, when Globe Santa visited 6,200 households in Greater Boston, the campaign has delivered toys, books, stocking stuffers, games, and candy to families across Eastern Massachusetts who celebrate Christmas in the Santa Claus tradition but cannot afford gifts for their children.
Last year, $1.2 million was raised, and 56,665 children in 32,240 families discovered presents from Globe Santa under their tree.
“Any help this season will make a big difference to a young boy and his mom,” the woman’s letter concluded. “Thank you again for your consideration.”
This family will join tens of thousands of others who receive a visit from Globe Santa this year, thanks to the generosity of individuals, groups, and local businesses that donate to the fund drive, many of whom make giving to Globe Santa a part of their holiday tradition.