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.
It’s Giving Tuesday, and every tax-deductible charitable organization you’ve ever given to is clamoring for you to do it again, which presents an opportunity to pose a question. With so many good causes to choose from, why give to Globe Santa?
The answers can be found in letters from parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, foster parents, parents who’ve adopted children, older siblings who have assumed responsibility for little brothers and sisters — guardians of children, writing to Globe Santa.
“For my sons,” writes a Boston mother of two who in the last few years lost a job, lost family members, lost relationships that were important support systems. “So I may be able to give them back a fraction of what they have given and still continue to give to me, hope that we will get through this.”
“For my baby girl,” writes a single mother, kept from working during the pandemic because of lifelong asthma. “We will be so grateful for what you send!”
“For my kids,” writes a father of three, under 5 years. He asked Globe Santa’s help last year, for the first time, and “Thanks to you, we had such a swell Christmas! I want to make my kids happy again this year. Could you help us a little, again?”
Globe Santa represents charity in the humblest sense, raising money for toys, books, games, and even warm winter clothing, for children in need, many in dire straits, delivering them — every last one.
Giving to Globe Santa is akin to taking a meal to a shut-in neighbor, donating canned and dry goods to a food drive; an act of kindness with direct impact. A big brown box in the US Mail, stamped with Globe Santa’s cheerful logo, tells a kid that someone cares. Last year 8,000 people donated, from $10 to thousands, adding up to $1.7 million. There is no less need this year.
“Many families in Greater Boston are experiencing long-term economic impacts and tighter budgets, which makes the holiday season particularly challenging and the need for support greater than ever before,” said Linda Henry, CEO of Boston Globe Media and chair of the Boston Globe Foundation, which sponsors Globe Santa. “Globe Santa is proud to fulfill its commitment to serving our community for the 67th consecutive year, addressing this critical need while lifting spirits during the holiday season.”
Individual donations get a boost from Boston’s business and cultural community. From Giggles, the comedy club at Prince Pizzeria in Saugus, whose 10th annual Globe Santa fund-raiser is Sunday, Dec. 4, to Eataly, the Italian food venue in the Prudential Center, which will be donating 10 percent of every purchase made Monday, Dec. 5, and 10 percent of ticket sales from its Bites & Sips event that evening.
On Dec. 9, there’s the Salem Snowball, an annual Globe Santa benefit, and Dec. 13 is Globe Santa day at the Boston Public Market, which will donate 25 cents for every person who visits. There will be shout-outs from the Holiday Pops stage, Globe Santa’s gnomish grin on the marquee of the Convention Center, a window display at the Boston Children’s Museum, and more.
Far from the holiday hoopla is one of the unsung heroes of Globe Santa. Sue Roberts has a day job in IT, but for 20 years, in the holiday season, she has devoted herself to processing Globe Santa’s thousands of donations, by check and credit card, even cash — a job made easier by online donations (and just added, the pay app Venmo). Much of the work of “the money room,” is data entry, updating the Globe Santa data base, ensuring every donor is acknowledged, personally and in the newspaper — if they want, many donors ask to be anonymous.
Letters to Globe Santa tend to follow the headlines, and there are times when donations do, too.
“The first time I personally noticed it was Sandy Hook,” Roberts said, referring to the school shootings a decade ago that left 26 dead. Out of horror, or helplessness, or just because they had to do something, Globe Santa donors responded. “There were all these 26-dollar donations, and 260-dollar donations,” Roberts said. “The donors said it was for the Sandy Hook angels.”
The first year of the pandemic, she said, they were prepared for a precipitous drop in donations.
The opposite happened.
“I got messages from people saying, ‘I’m doing okay and I know there are so many families that aren’t, so I want to give a little extra this year.”
Henry said: “We are grateful for the many donors who contribute year after year to help our neighbors in need through Globe Santa. It is especially appreciated this year, when our community’s need for support is most urgent.”
Ellen Bartlett can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.