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.
“Oh, what a year it has been,” writes a mother of four, in temporary housing north of Boston.
Oh, what an understatement, when you consider what she and her family have endured this year.
They lost their apartment to a fire. “Thankfully everyone made it out safe,” she said, “But a lot was lost. Unfortunately, I am not the richest person and starting from scratch with four children is a true challenge.”
“But I GOT THIS,” she said. “With faith, love, hope, and will power, my children and I will prosper.”
If only it were so. Massachusetts ranks as the third least affordable state in the country for housing, according to Out of Reach 2020, a report produced by the National Low Income Housing Coalition. Only Hawaii and California are further out of reach. For those who rely on low-income or subsidized housing, the waiting list for accommodation anywhere near Boston is from one to five years.
“May 2, 2022, our home caught a fire,” another mother writes in the voice of her 5-year-old son. “Since then, my mom and I have been living in a hotel. With very little space. All we could afford to have here is our everyday things.”
It would not have been possible to bring more anyway, the letter said. “Most of my toys were trashed due to water damage from the fire.”
For children who believe in Santa, and many still do, persisting under the most difficult of circumstances, it must seem a miracle that they can be found, wherever they are, whatever their living situation. But they express no doubts. Globe Santa, they are confident, will find them.
And Globe Santa will. For 67 years, Globe Santa, a program of the Boston Globe Foundation, has been finding children in need in Greater Boston wherever they may live, and delivering boxes of toys, books and games so they won’t go gift less in the holidays. Thanks to thousands of donors — 8,000 last year, giving a total of $1.7 million — the tradition continues.
“My children are so grateful,” the mother of four writes, “Just having a gift to open will warm their hearts.”
“Santa, I’m not selfish with what I get,” the boy in the hotel writes. “I am pleased with anything given to me. Most important I am happy to have somewhere to stay with my mommy. We are doing the best we can with our living situation.”
In a voice that sounds less like her child, and more like the worried, weary parent she is, the letter concludes: “This has been a hard year on me and my family. We take anything we can get, since we was left with nothing.”
Not all housing is lost in a fire or a natural disaster. Sometimes it is simply no longer possible to stay in the place you’ve called home.
“I am still not able to work,” writes the father of a 10-year-old girl. He’s a single father, with disabilities, and now he can no longer afford to keep his home. “And so this year we will have to move from the house where she has grown up, right after Christmas.”
So, he asks for one more Christmas from Globe Santa, in their family home. “I just want to make sure she is not focused on that move.”
“These past years have been hard,” he said, “But I can truly say that on Christmas morning when she is opening her gifts, she is always excited to play the newest Boston board game that she got from Santa.
You can help Globe Santa “deliver joy,” to children this holiday season by visiting GlobeSanta.org.
Christopher Tangney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org