BANGOR, Maine — Santa Claus will get a big holiday boost this year in the Bangor area, with Bangor Savings Bank’s announcement this week that it will match donations to the Santa’s Helper Fund, dollar for dollar, up to a total of $50,000.
Carol Colson, a senior vice president at Bangor Savings Bank, said Tuesday that hard economic times call for greater giving.
“We hear continually that basic needs such as food, shelter and clothing are the biggest needs here in Maine,” she said. She hopes the bank’s commitment to effectively double all donations will encourage area residents and organizations to give generously this holiday season.
“Now more than ever, people need help,” Colson said.
The Bangor Savings Bank Foundation donates more than $1 million a year to local charities, Colson said, but this is the first year the organization has participated in the Santa’s Helper fundraiser.
Since the early 1970s, the Bangor Daily News has partnered with The Salvation Army to raise money for needy families and individuals over the holidays.
Last year, the Santa’s Helper Fund raised about $63,000.
Salvation Army Capt. Joshua Lyle said Tuesday that the need for assistance in the Bangor area took a big jump last November and continues to grow.
“The numbers are not dying down,” he said. Families are seeking help with routine expenses such as rent, heating fuel and other bills, he said. The Christmas holidays add another layer of financial pressure, he said, and the Santa’s Helper Fund can help on all fronts.
“We do a fairly big Christmas effort,” he said, pointing out that this year about 5,000 children will receive new toys, stocking stuffers, coats, pajamas and clothing. In addition, families can get help with basic living expenses and with longer-term strategies for making ends meet.
The matching commitment from Bangor Savings Bank “practically doubles the entire effort,” Lyle said.
The BDN publishes donations and tracks the amount in the Santa’s Helper Fund as it grows.
Donations may be made online at www.Bangor.SalvationArmyME.org or mailed to Santa’s Helper Fund, The Salvation Army, P.O. Box 567, Bangor 04401.