There’s a box on the front counter inside the Buck Street entrance of the Bangor Daily News. This time of year, people stop by to tuck in a dollar or $5, or leave a check for Santa’s Helper. Many more send theirs by mail.
Every penny goes to The Salvation Army to assist those in need, often those who fall through the cracks and aren’t eligible for other kinds of aid.
Toys and children’s clothing, food vouchers, gifts to those in group homes and nursing homes, food for families and a variety of other needs are met with assistance from Santa’s Helper.
The fund was started some 35 years ago by Joanne Van Namee, mother of BDN Publisher Richard J. Warren.
Many of the donations these days are given in memory of or in honor of someone special — a mom or dad, a grandparent or spouse, a child, a dear friend, a cherished pet.
Our Christmas tradition is to contribute in memory of Robby Beck, a good-humored 12-year-old who left us all too soon some years ago. Maybe some young boy or girl will receive a model airplane this Christmas and paint it yellow like the one Robby gave our son.
People give to Santa’s Helper individually, or they pass the hat during the meeting of some club, or maybe it’s a part of the organization’s annual budget. The Rebekahs give, the Singles Club, the church down the road in Frankfort.
Names and towns of donors are printed in the Santa’s Helper column, along with the amount of donation. But donors who wish to be listed as anonymous can do that.
Readers are welcome to drop off their donations at the Bangor Daily News, or send donations to Santa’s Helper, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor, ME 04402. With your help, we can reach this year’s goal of $50,000. Gifts to Santa’s Helper are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.