Letter: Christmas Happiness donors helped hundreds of families

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 2, 2007

On behalf of the Rowan County Department of Social Services and those we serve, it is my pleasure to thank the Salisbury Post for sponsoring the 2006 Christmas Happiness campaign. For the past 55 Christmases, the Salisbury Post has brought attention to the needs of families and children in our community. Beginning in 1952, the Post has shared stories of local families who were in need because of unemployment, pending job layoffs, catastrophic medical bills and other situations causing parents to struggle just to meet basic needs. In these families, there would be no Christmas gifts for the children. In that first year of the Christmas Happiness campaign, donations totaled $1,801. No doubt, that money stretched to serve many needy children.

The needs have grown through the years but, through the generous spirit of our community, the donations have kept pace. This year, the Salisbury Post received $75,406.31, an increase of almost $5,500 over last year’s donations!

All donated funds were used to directly assist those in need, with DSS absorbing any administrative costs. This year, every applicant who met the eligibility criteria for a Christmas Happiness voucher received help because the funds were sufficient. No one was denied assistance due to insufficient funds! On Friday, Dec. 22, when the DSS offices closed at 5 p.m., 918 families had received a voucher to buy toys or clothing for their children’s Christmas.

To all those who made donations to the Christmas Happiness fund this year, you will be so pleased to know that you took part in helping 2,139 children have a Merry Christmas. Through your concern and generosity, these children shared in the joy of the season.

Thank you for reaching out to help others in the true spirit of Christmas.

— Sandra M. Wilkes


Editor’s note: Sandra Wilkes is director of the Rowan County Department of Social Services.