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When misfortunes pile up, Globe Santa steps in

Globe Santa with comedian Lenny Clarke during a comedy show fund-raiser for Globe Santa at Giggles Comedy Club in Saugus. The Dec. 8 event raised $3,420 for Globe Santa.Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe

“It’s so expensive to live under a roof and just simply “BE,” a mother of three wrote Globe Santa.

To just simply be. To be without worry. Illness. Debt. Job loss. Homelessness. Fear of eviction.

Many of us take this way of living for granted. But these and numerous other misfortunes are the backbone of the letters Globe Santa receives. There are countless ways in which a family can be derailed, the letters reveal.

For many families, life’s woes have been compounded by other problems, through an unfortunate run of bad luck or because one misfortune triggers another, causing a ripple effect. A child’s illness may mean a parent has to spend so much time at medical appointments, he or she has to quit a job; soon the bills pile up and there’s not enough to eat. A death of one parent places an undue burden on the other one, or on an ailing grandparent who steps in to help.

The mother who wrote the letter to Globe Santa is an example of how individual problems can cascade into multiple problems. She has three children, ages 1, 7 and 10, and lost her “favorite” job in March 2020 because of the pandemic. She’s also profoundly hard of hearing, so it’s hard to find a suitable job.


The situation leaves her unable “to afford anything extra [beyond] debt fees, year-late utility bills and many other I.O.U.’s for help I’ve been receiving.” She asked for help “to provide an extra gift” without having to go further into debt.

“How are you Santa?” another mother begins her letter, before outlining her heartbreaking story. “Things have been a bit difficult here.”

Her husband died two years ago and “since then we have been trying to keep afloat.” Her 14-year-old son has autism, suffers from depression, and has been hospitalized this year “for feeling so down. He also has many outbursts and needs to be redirected.”


Her 10-year-old son not only lost his father “but has to deal with his older brother on a daily basis.” Now he’s being treated for obsessive-compulsive disorder, a consequence of all his stress. Furthermore, it’s hard for her to work, “because I am consistently dealing with the school and therapist.”

“Please,” she asked Globe Santa. “We could use a little help this Christmas.”

A father of four titled his neatly typed request “A Letter To Santa.”

“My wife and I have very limited resources. Our jobs have been greatly affected [by the pandemic] which consequently shrunk our meager resources. On top of that, we have also lost our loved ones to COVID, which further affected us psychologically.”

Because of all this, he continued, they could barely afford food and shelter. “Given all we have gone through, this year we would love to bring more happiness to our kids by giving them gifts for the holidays. Any assistance you can offer us will be greatly appreciated.”

Globe Santa with comedian Dave Russo, left, and Giggle's Comedy Club Owner Mike Clarke, right, during a fund-raising comedy show at Giggles Comedy Club in Saugus. Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe

Globe Santa — a program of the Boston Globe Foundation — may not be able to erase all these sorrows, but it can certainly brighten a holiday, providing support and hope for the future.

Please consider supporting the fund drive during this time of unparalleled need, by phone, mail, or online at globesanta.org.

Linda Matchan can be reached at linda.matchan@globe.com.