Giving thanks to our region’s giving spirit
It seems the Christmas holiday season further encroaches on the celebration of Thanksgiving with each succeeding year.
Combined with supply chain bottlenecks that threaten to keep the inventory of brick- and- mortar and online stores scarce — creating an even heightened giftbuying frenzy — that day dedicated to family, friends, football and turkey feels even more marginalized.
But instead of lamenting the loss of Thanksgiving’s importance in the minds of many, we’ve decided to give thanks for all those local organizations and individuals that exemplify the true holiday spirit of giving.
Greater Lowell’s especially blessed with charitable organizations and individuals that make Christmas brighter for the families that need a holiday lift.
Though these giving groups and people are far too numerous to mention, we’d like to highlight some especially notable contributors.
The Sun Santa Fund, an arm of Lowell Sun Charities, was founded in 1988 in recognition of the many families in Greater Lowell that struggle at this time of year. Since then, it’s provided support for thousands of those in need in the communities served by The Sun newspaper.
Last holiday season, despite the pandemic- created obstacles, the Sun Santa Fund raised $ 260,000 — smashing its $ 200,000 goal — a tribute to this region’s generosity.
Through applications for assistance processed by The Salvation Army and Community Teamwork, families receive toy and food vouchers based on their financial need and family size. Toy vouchers are redeemable at Rogers Toy in downtown Lowell and Walmart in Tewksbury. Food vouchers are accepted at all Market Basket stores.
While donations are gratefully accepted from corporations, small businesses, schools, and individuals, one entity has come to exemplify the spirit of generosity that Sun Santa represents.
Every year, Lowell General Hospital has demonstrated why it’s Sun Santa’s most productive helper.
Despite the pandemic, last year Lowell General still managed to raise $ 90,000 through its annual Christmas basket raffle.
Other corporate partners and individuals too numerous to mention have again answered the call with scheduled fundraisers in support of Sun Santa’s mission.
Every year, the Lowell branch of the Salvation Army sees its resources stretched by the needs of area families.
That’s why the efforts of WCAP’s annual Salvation Army Radiothon have never been more appreciated.
Run by WCAP Saturday Morning radio host Warren Shaw and his capable team, this annual event will take place on Dec. 11, starting at 7 a. m.
Faced with coronavirus restrictions, last year’s event still came close to reaching its $ 200,000 goal.
The Dec. 11 event will include an online auction and a number of special live and call- in contributors, including the governor and lieutenant governor.
Also, the annual boot drive by firefighters from Lowell, Dracut and Tyngsboro gets a Radiothon reboot.
And we’d like to reserve a special thank- you to Greater Lowell Chamber of Commerce President Danielle McFadden, who spearheaded the Merrimack Valley Food Bank’s just- concluded fundraiser, which smashed its initial goal of $ 30,000 by $ 10,000.
Last year, the Lowell based food repository distributed 3.8 million pounds of sustenance to 47 communities, providing low- income individuals healthy food choices that might otherwise be beyond their means.
This record haul will allow the MVFB to continue — and perhaps expand — its mission.
We believe the spirit of giving exhibited by everyone who contributed to this amazing fundraiser’s success elevates Thanksgiving to its proper place.