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globe santa

Daughter of Globe Santa recipients gives back

Pam DiBella (above left) and Gary J. Oberstein with Globe Santa’s Bill Connolly (center). Below, Markus Ripperger, Mike Hughes, Thomas Kershaw, Sara O’Malley, Connolly.

Cecille Joan Avila for The Boston Globe

Pam DiBella (left) and Gary J. Oberstein with Globe Santa’s Bill Connolly (center).

For Kerri Lynch Delaney, owner of the Babycakes cupcake bakery in Quincy, supporting Globe Santa is a tradition that goes way back.

“As long as I can remember, that’s what my family always contributed to,” Delaney, 35, said. “Every year, my mom wrote out a check to Globe Santa.”

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Delaney has a personal reason for wanting to continue the tradition of supporting Globe Santa: Her parents were recipients when they were children growing up in he Old Harbor housing project in South Boston.

Delaney’s father, Paul Lynch, was second oldest of seven children, with a taxi-driver father and a mother who was a homemaker until her husband’s death, when she became a waitress at a private club. The family did not have a lot, but there was no sense of deprivation, he said.

“Everybody was in the same boat in this project,” Lynch said. “It was firefighters and police officers; nobody was making any money. Everybody was all even. But then, as you get older, things got a little bit tougher.”

Cecille Joan Avila for The Boston Globe

Markus Ripperger, Mike Hughes, Thomas Kershaw, Sara O’Malley, Bill Connolly.

His family learned about Globe Santa through an uncle, Kenneth Mullhall, who worked for many years in the Globe press room and helped connect a number of Old Harbor families to the program, Lynch said. For the seven active Lynch children, that meant a Christmas morning unwrapping athletic gear.

“There was footballs, basketballs, stuff like that, because everyone was into sports at the time,” Lynch recalled. “We lived right across the street from the big park, Columbia Park, and that’s where we spent most of our days.”

Lynch was 14 or 15 when he first met his future wife, Mary Ellen Fitzgerald, the youngest in a family of three children who grew up in Old Harbor. As years passed, she never forgot what Globe Santa meant to her, and she began supporting the program as soon as she and her husband were able.

“If you have it, you give it,” Lynch said. “We never had it, so we had it given it to us, so when we were able to, we tried to turn around and help out.”

Delaney remembers growing up in a house where Christmas was a very big deal.

“We joke with my mom that she overcompensates because they didn’t have anything growing up,” she said.

When she became an adult and had enough income, Delaney joined her parents as a donor. This holiday season, for the first time, she used her popular bakery to collect donations, putting up a box in the shop where customers could drop as much or as little cash as they could afford.

She said it has been moving to see the support of her customers, including young children who drop handfuls of change in the box. She collected more than $200 in the bakery, and she said she plans to do more to support Globe Santa next year, and for many years to come.

“It’s such a nice feeling. I did the Christmas parade down the street, and it was just so cute how everyone came down and just threw in whatever they had,” she said. “It’s very nice to see how people want to help.”

Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at jeremy.fox@globe.com or on Twitter @jeremycfox.
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