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Generous family tradition upheld

Grandparents inspire donation

By Christopher Tangney
Globe Correspondent / December 22, 2011
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Of the thousands of donations that pour into Globe Santa’s coffers each year, countless numbers come from people with childhood memories of the holiday gift campaign.

Some remember their parents reading them the stories of struggling families published in The Boston Globe, while others were Globe Santa recipients and know firsthand the thrill of finding presents on Christmas morning when they feared that they may be forgotten.

There are those, too, who give in memory of loved ones for whom Christmas was a joyous occasion, but also a time to remember children in need. For Anne Grossman, honoring her grandparents by giving to Globe Santa brings her back in time, if only for a few moments.

And a note with her donation this year took us along for the ride.

“I was first introduced to Globe Santa as a 7-year-old in my grandparents’ kitchen,’’ she wrote. “I remember looking on my grandparents’ refrigerator and seeing a newspaper clipping with my name on it. Being seven, I thought this was pretty amazing.’’

Anne’s grandparents donated to Globe Santa on behalf of their 11 grandchildren, and each child’s name was among those listed in the Globe under “Santa’s Friends,’’ where everyone who gives to the fund drive is recognized. She grew up in Foxborough, the oldest of four, and she - along with her two brothers and her sister - always looked forward to visiting her grandparents in nearby Brockton, particularly during the holiday season.

“They were both really into the Christmas season, and my grandparents were very giving people,’’ Anne said in an interview. “So as kids, we always had an incredible Christmas.’’

Her grandfather and grandmother, while they spoiled their grandchildren as much as Anne’s parents would allow, also never let the holiday pass without stressing the importance of being thankful for their good fortune - and of offering a hand to those in need of a lift.

“I remember my grandmother and grandfather, the late Edward and Elizabeth Twohig, explaining the importance of giving back,’’ Anne wrote. “I think it was during this moment when I realized the true meaning of Christmas.’’

Her grandparents were a big part of her life year round, she said, and when her grandfather passed away in 1999 it hit the family hard. As Christmas approached that year, she knew that giving to Globe Santa in his name would be a fitting tribute.

“I remember being a senior in high school and hand delivering the donation to the old Boston Globe store in downtown Boston,’’ she said. “When I told the woman who was accepting the donations my story, she cried right along with me.’’

Her grandmother passed away in 2006 and Anne has continued the annual tradition of giving to Globe Santa in memory of both her grandparents. And after volunteering for a time at The Home for Little Wanderers, she decided to pursue a graduate degree that would allow her to dedicate her professional life to helping children as well.

“I am a second-year social work graduate student at Simmons College, which does not leave a lot for donations. However, my grandparents always taught me that it was the thought that counts,’’ her note concluded. “I am happy to know that my small donation will make a child smile on Christmas. All children deserve to have the Christmas I was so lucky to have.’’

Her donation in memory of Edward and Elizabeth Twohig will be listed in the Globe and online this year along with all the individuals, groups, organizations, and children themselves whose generous support make the fund drive possible.

Last year, $1,413,668 was raised and 56,190 children in 31,263 families discovered presents from Globe Santa under their Christmas tree.

And every dollar donated to the campaign is used to buy gifts; the Boston Globe Foundation pays all of the administrative costs.

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