“My mom works alone and gets no help from my dad,” begins a poignant letter from a 9-year-old girl in a city north of Boston. “That is [why it is] hard for her to buy me gifts for the holidays. That is why I would appreciate you help.”
To emphasize her point, she drew an elaborate “before” and “after” picture.
The “before” picture shows two sad girls next to a Christmas tree with no gifts beneath it. “Man, no present,” the caption says, with a frowny face.
The “after” picture is jubilant. There are two boxes of toys, one labelled “Globe Santa box.” The girls are clapping and yipping. “Wow! Heray!! Yes presents!”
The profound need – and hope – expressed here echoes that of thousands of letters that arrive in Globe Santa’s mailbox in the weeks leading up to the holidays. For 66 years, Globe Santa, a program of the Boston Globe Foundation, has provided toys, books, and games to boys and girls whose parents or guardians are facing tough, even dire, circumstances.
“On Giving Tuesday, it’s important to remember that the COVID-19 pandemic is still really impacting families in our community. Supporting local families through programs like Globe Santa is as important as ever,” said Linda Henry, CEO of Boston Globe Media Partners and chair of the Boston Globe Foundation.
“Children have carried so many extra worries around illness, job loss, financial struggles, so the thoughtfully curated holiday gifts that Globe Santa delivers directly to them bring joy and support,” Henry said.
Mostly the letters are written by parents, guardians, and occasionally siblings on the children’s behalf. But a few letters arrive from the children themselves, or written in a son or daughter’s voice.
”I’ll be 6 months old by Christmas,” says a letter from Ethiopian parents with a baby girl. “My mom was unemployed because of Covid. When I was born she wasn’t able to apply for a job because day care is too expensive. And my dad is the only one who is working. … I’m a first-generation American. I want our house to be filled with hope and joy in this beautiful Christmas season. Looking forward to hear from you 🙂 “
Last year, more than 17,000 families asked for help for more than 30,000 children in Greater Boston, and Globe Santa delivered. Some 9,000 donors contributed more than $1.7 million to buy them gifts.
These are staggering numbers. You, too, can bring joy to a child’s life by giving to Globe Santa by phone, mail, or online at globesanta.org
Linda Matchan can be reached at [email protected]