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You Can Help Sun Santa Make These Children Smile

November 25, 2018

The duo Zephyr, Kris Pisarik of Chelmsford, right, and Paul Censullo of Stoneham, perform in a Sun Santa fundraiser at the Athenian Corner restaurant in Lowell on Saturday.

Harry and Emma have faced problem after problem this year.

Emma’s health condition has worsened throughout 2018, and has limited how much she can work. If she’s lucky, she can work 15 to 20 hours a week. She needs an operation, but keeps putting it off because her family needs every dollar.

Harry works for a temp agency. Some weeks, he works 40 hours; others, he barely works a full shift.

The spiral of financial problems means the family is behind on rent and on their bills. That’s the choice they make, because their two young children need to eat.

Two weeks ago, their landlord served them with an eviction notice. This happened a few weeks after Harry and Emma threw out all of their furniture, because their apartment was infested.

“We’re hoping we can survive through the holidays,” Emma says. “I’m really worried my kids will wake up on Christmas morning without anything under the tree.”

“I’m asking for your help because what they really deserve is a good Christmas, especially since they have lost almost everything,” she says. “Thank you, Sun Santa, for helping our kids.”

Can you find room in your heart to help Harry, Emma and their family?

The Sun and Lowell Sun Charities have a proud history of serving the Greater Lowell community. Lowell Sun Charities was established in 1947 with a basic mission to support local charitable causes. Three decades ago, Lowell Sun Charities identified another need: Many local families were struggling to provide Christmas gifts for their children and put a holiday meal on their table. From that need, The Sun Santa Fund was founded, and is now celebrating its 30th anniversary.

Sun Santa provides assistance to local families in the 23 communities served by The Sun. The Salvation Army and Community Teamwork process applications and distribute gift and food vouchers to the families. Toy vouchers are redeemable at Rogers Toy in downtown Lowell and Kmart in Billerica. Food vouchers are accepted at Hannaford supermarkets in Dracut, Lowell and Chelmsford and all Market Basket stores.

The Sun Santa Fund -- through the generosity of the local community -- raises the funds to directly support this voucher system that provides families the means to experience a joyful holiday. Thanks to our major partner, Lowell General Hospital, local businesses, public officials, neighborhood social clubs, students and hundreds of individual donors, we have always met our goal. Every family who requests Sun Santa’s help receives it.

All donations help and are recorded by the newspaper. Brief messages are welcome.

Donation canisters, stickers and buttons are available for businesses that would like to help. Businesses donating $500 or more are welcome to submit a digital photo that will be printed in The Sun as space is available.

Teachers are encouraged to hold “penny drives” in their buildings or classrooms to involve children in Sun Santa.

Secure online gifts can be made at lowellsun.com/ sunsanta, or by mail to The Sun Santa Fund, 491 Dutton St. Lowell, MA 01854.

Mark your calendar for the following events to benefit The Sun Santa Fund ...

* The annual Lowell General Hospital theme-basket raffle begins on Tuesday, Nov. 27 with online sales.

Baskets will be on display at the main campus, 295 Varnum Ave., Clark Auditorium. Ticket sales dates and times are:

* Wednesday, Dec. 5, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

* Thursday, Dec. 6, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

* Friday, Dec. 7, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

* Saturday, Dec. 8, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

* Sunday, Dec. 9, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

* Monday, Dec. 10, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

* Tuesday, Dec. 11, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

* Wednesday, Dec. 12, 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Winners will be drawn on Wednesday, Dec. 12, at 3:30 p.m. in Clark Auditorium. The public is welcome.

* Friday, Nov. 30: Former state Sen. Steve Panagiotakos holds his annual Sun Santa Christmas Party at the Blue Shamrock, 155 Market St., Lowell. The party begins at 6 p.m. Bring an unwrapped toy for the It’s All About the Kids Foundation.

* Wednesday, Dec. 5: State Rep. David Nangle hosts a celebration at Lenzi’s, 810 Merrimack Ave., Dracut, from 6 to 9 p.m. Bring an unwrapped toy and/or a check for The Sun Santa Fund.

* Thursday, Dec. 6: State Rep. Jim Arciero hosts his annual Sun Santa/Toys for Tots fundraiser at the Franco American Club, 55 W. Prescott St., Westford. The event begins at 6 p.m.

* Saturday, Dec. 8: At the Knickerbocker Club, 36 Chamberlain St., Lowell. Sun Santa’s friends at the Patriot Dart League host their annual benefit fundraising event. Entry fees are $15 per person/per event. Payouts will depend on the number of entries in each event. Entry fees benefit The Sun Santa Fund.

* Sunday, Dec. 16: The Polish American Veterans of Lowell Inc. and Ladies Auxiliary present their annual Sun Santa Family Christmas Party at the Dom Polski Club, 10 Coburn St., Lowell. $5 requested donation (children under age 12 free).

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