Parents need help this Christmas as pandemic’s damage runs deep

For more than six decades, Globe Santa has helped ensure that children who have struggled through a difficult year are not forgotten on Christmas morning.

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

The pandemic has inflicted pain and suffering that was perhaps unimaginable only eight months ago.

Across the globe and here at home, the residual effects of COVID-19 have included soaring unemployment rates, school and business closures, a growing sense of isolation, and, of course, grief.

More than a million people worldwide have lost their lives. With nearly eight million cases of COVID-19 in the United States, more than 220,000 Americans have died from the disease. In Massachusetts the death toll has exceeded 9,600.

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Among the survivors, many have endured persistent health problems and struggled to return to work.

And in Massachusetts, some of those survivors are parents who worry about how they will provide their children with gifts this holiday season. They have reached out to Globe santa, a program of the Boston Globe Foundation, for help.

“During this pandemic I had contracted the virus and it took a toll on my health,” the mother of a 7-year old boy wrote in a letter to Globe Santa. “Although I still have lingering effects, I am feeling much better.”

The woman from Boston is a single mother and a healthcare worker, so she has witnessed the impact of COVID-19 on the elderly, who are at a higher risk of serious illness, and on children.

“I work in a nursing home and because I became sick with COVID-19 I had to remain out of work for a few months,” she wrote. “It would be great to be able to provide my son gifts this holiday especially being that he had a very boring summer, not being able to do much or go anywhere including camp or sports.”

Another young mother from a town north of Boston wrote to Globe Santa for help in providing Christmas presents to her 6-year-old son.

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“I am a single mother that has been furloughed from my Pre-k position because of COVID-19,” she said in her letter. “I am writing to hopefully be considered for the Globe Santa program.”

In an unkind turn of events, the woman could not return to work in September because her son’s school is operating remotely, and she has no one to care for the boy during the day.

“I am in search of jobs where I can bring [my son] or work remotely,” she wrote. “And I worry [about] how I will provide remote learning support as a result.”

These two families will join tens of thousands of others this year in receiving gifts from Globe Santa.

For more than six decades, Globe Santa has helped ensure that children who have struggled through a difficult year are not forgotten on Christmas morning.

Since 1956, the charity campaign has delivered presents to families during the holiday season. In 2019, more than $1 million was raised and nearly 30,000 Massachusetts children received gifts from Globe Santa.

But none of it would be possible without the annual generosity of thousands of individuals, groups, businesses, social clubs, school systems and children themselves who support the fund drive.

They give because they like knowing that their contribution helped make a child happy. You can join them, during a time of unprecedented need, by visiting globesanta.org.

And if your family is in need of assistance, requests will be accepted until Nov. 6. Please visit globesanta.org for eligibility requirements and instructions on how to apply.

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Christopher Tangney can be reached at ctangney22@hotmail.com.

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