All News & Blogs
'Letters to Santa' and other Christmas assistance programs have great need this year
By Rob Hedelt
THE "Letters to Santa"
A 12-year-old girl wrote that the past few years have been rough for her, as she has lost family members including her dad.
"It would mean a lot if you could get me a few items from my list," wrote the young lady, attaching a typical child's holiday hope collection: lip gloss, a winter jacket and "realistic fiction" books.
Often, it's the parents who pen the letters, which adoptive Santas use to buy gifts for the youngsters.
"I am a single, working Mom and it is very hard this year trying to give my girls a Christmas," said another letters. "This will help me out and my [girls] will love it," wrote the mom.
Or this, from the mother of a 2-year-old boy.
"Anything he gets will be appreciated, loved and passed on when he is done loving it."
Starting tomorrow, the local Red Cross office in the Southpoint shopping center at Massaponax will begin the adoption process that runs through Nov. 26. This is the 20th year for the program in our area.
This year, there are 765 needy youngsters, ages 1 through 12, in Fredericksburg and the counties of Stafford, Spotsylvania,
Other large Christmas-assistance initiatives for children include the Salvation Army's Angel Trees and programs through the social services departments in Stafford and Spotsylvania.
The scary thing this year: the overwhelming, growing need out there as a worsening economy threatens to overwhelm programs.
Officials from these programs estimate they'll serve 13,000 people this year.
Kristen Taylor, volunteer resources coordinator at the Red Cross, said the agency caps the number of letters
"We've changed things a bit this year, directly asking on our form if the child needs a winter coat," she said. "If the answer is no, we ask our Santas to simply get toys or other items on the list, only purchasing clothes if the child has that on the list."