For 67 years, Globe Santa, a program of the Boston Globe Foundation, has provided gifts to children in need at holiday time. Please consider giving by phone, mail, or online at globesanta.org.
“This year has been difficult,” is how a single mother from Chelsea starts her letter to Globe Santa.
“The cost of everything seems to increase weekly,” she writes, but “the paycheck stays the same. Paying for gas, food, clothes, bills, school activities — it gets to be a lot.” Add in “upcoming car repairs and heating costs. I am already anxious thinking of what the holiday season will be like this year.”
For families struggling make ends meet, holidays can be more a source of added anxiety and sadness than comfort and joy. And as the cost of everything rises, stress levels rise, too.
“In the past a full tank of gas was manageable. Not anymore!” a single mother from Milford writes. “Just as I thought I might be stable, the price of gasoline for my car and the cost of groceries soared. What little money I started to put in a savings account has disappeared. I had to keep withdrawing from it to cover the extra costs.”
Now there is nothing left to give her child “the Christmas he deserves. The money just isn’t there.” She is not alone.
“With rent, food, gas going up we are struggling just to keep a roof over our head,” writes a mother of two from Lowell. “We are behind on our bills already.”
Thousands of families reach out every year to Globe Santa, the Boston Globe Foundation program that for 67 years has been providing holiday gifts to children in need in Greater Boston. Last year, thanks to the generosity of thousands of donors, Globe Santa delivered toys and books and family games to 30,000 children in 190 towns and cities.
The pandemic that had the world in its grip a year ago may have eased, but the economic disruption remains. It has shown up in the rising costs of housing, transport, food, clothing, and, as winter approaches, staying warm. The price per gallon of home heating oil has increased more than 70 percent over last year. Natural gas is up by more than a third. Electricity could increase by as much as 50 percent, if a rate request is approved. The cost of food consumed at home has risen more than 12 percent from this time last year, with some staple foods such as dairy, cereals, and bread even higher.
“Providing for young children while covering all expenses has been challenging,” writes a single mother from Lynn, who is also acting as guardian for her grandson while her daughter is serving in the Army. “We have been trying to keep up with bills as life expenses have gone up, but my salary has pretty much stayed the same.”
“We already don’t have a lot of extra spending money to begin with,” writes a Dorchester mother of twin daughters, who, shortly after learning that her full-time job had been reduced to part time, received notice of a rent increase.
They may be struggling, but they want to spare their children.
“I don’t want my financial situation to ruin the holiday magic for them,” writes the Dorchester mother on behalf of her twins.
“I wish I didn’t have to ask for help,” writes a mother of two little girls in Attleboro. “But this year is hard.”
“With your help,” the mother in Lowell writes, “we can put a smile on our children’s faces.”
In its years of existence, Globe Santa has put smiles on the faces of more than 3 million children, thanks to the extraordinary generosity of its supporters, whose donations over the decades have amounted to a whopping $54 million.
You can join in the Globe Santa mission to “deliver joy” by visiting GlobeSanta.org.
Christopher Tangney can be reached at email@example.com.