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Restaurants buckle under the weight of COVID-19 and workers struggle to survive

Since 1956, Globe Santa has helped families like this one celebrate Christmas with gifts.

For 65 years, Globe Santa has been providing holiday gifts to Boston area children. In this time of heightened need, please consider giving at globesanta.org.

With more than a quarter-million American lives lost to COVID-19, it’s hard to grasp how far the pandemic’s gruesome effects stretch.

Seniors and children alike struggle to cope with social isolation.

Facing a life-threatening illness in someone close who has been stripped of the comforting presence of family and friends, people rely on the kindness of heroic health care workers

And many of those fortunate enough to have escaped falling ill from the virus have lost their livelihoods.

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“In these uncertain times, I lost my job as a restaurant manager,” the mother of a 10-year-old boy wrote in a letter to Globe Santa.

The mother and her son live in a city a few miles northwest of Boston, and, not surprisingly, her expenses have proven to be more than federal or state relief programs can cover.

She’s succeeded in keeping a roof over their heads, but without help, her only child will have a disappointing Christmas.

“I have been focused on being able to pay the rent,” she wrote. “I can’t save to offer something to my son. He really deserves something nice; he is a good boy.”

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The boy’s mother described a selfless child who finds joy in helping others, mirroring Globe Santa’s mission. His empathy extends from the seemingly lost and hopeless — homeless men and women they pass on the street — to fellow classmates facing hard times.

“His heart is in the right place. He loves to give,” she said in her letter. “He shares anything he has if it puts a smile on another kid. I know Santa will give something to [my son], who is a bit of Santa at heart!”

Since 1956, Globe Santa has helped families like this one celebrate Christmas with gifts.

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Over more than six decades, millions of children who were enduring difficulties found comfort on Christmas morning, knowing that they were not forgotten.

Joining the 10-year-old boy on Globe Santa’s list this season will be two children who are part of a tight-knit family — a 12-year-old girl and her 9-year-old brother who live in a town southwest of Boston.

Their mother wrote to Globe Santa for help in providing presents for them this Christmas.

“I am still nearly out of work due to COVID-19,” the mother wrote in her letter. “I am a waitress nights and weekends, and attend Bridgewater State University during the day.”

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With restaurants adhering to strict capacity limits in order to curtail the spread of the virus, her shifts have been reduced from six nights a week to just one or two, she wrote.

What’s more, the children’s grandparents took care of them when she was waitressing. But that has changed. As senior citizens, they are among the most vulnerable to COVID-19 and so the mother now has to hire someone to look after the children on the nights she’s working, further straining her resources.

“I am also a single parent, so the household falls solely on me,” she wrote. “This is my last year of school, so I am close to having my degree and not relying on waitressing to support my family.”

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Globe Santa will be there this Christmas to help ensure her children have a happy holiday.

But that would not be possible without the generosity of those that donate to the fund drive, many of whom make giving to Globe Santa an annual tradition.

Every year, thousands of individuals, groups, businesses, social clubs, and schoolchildren contribute to the campaign so a child can experience the wonder of Christmas with presents from Santa Claus.

No amount is too small, and every dollar donated is used to buy gifts for families in need.

You can join these generous benefactors by giving to Globe Santa either by mail or online at globesanta.org.

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Christopher Tangney can be reached at [email protected].

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