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Letters to the editor – Thursday (12-25-08)

Thanks for supporting Christmas Happiness
On behalf of the Department of Social Services and the families we serve, I wish to thank the Salisbury Post for sponsoring the 2008 Christmas Happiness campaign. Our deep appreciation also goes to the hundreds of individuals who made donations. The spirit of giving far outweighs the economic crisis that is upon us, as many donors have reached out to help others in need.
At the close of business on Dec. 23, DSS had issued shopping vouchers for 3,576 children, representing 1,667 Rowan County families. This is the largest number of children ever to benefit from the Christmas Happiness program, and is an increase of more than 1,500 children from last year. This large number of recipients reflects the increase in our food assistance and Medicaid roles, as more parents are relying on public assistance programs to help make ends meet.
Christmas Happiness recipients included parents who are laid off from their jobs, whose homes are in foreclosure and whose savings have been depleted. Some parents and their children are homeless and living in shelters. Many parents who are fortunate to have full-time jobs are earning wages that have not kept up with the cost of living. Money that they normally would set aside for toys and clothes is now paying the rent or buying food. Christmas Happiness made a way for these parents to give their children a gift at Christmas. They will delight in their children’s joy.
In addition to the Salisbury Post and those who made donations, I wish to thank the employees of Kmart and Magic Mart for accepting and processing Christmas Happiness vouchers and for assisting shoppers with their purchases.
At this season of Christmas, may God’s blessings fill the life of each person who acknowledged the needs of the less fortunate in our community. Each recipient of your goodness has experienced the true meaning of Christmas.
ó Sandra M. Wilkes
Salisbury
Sandra Wilkes is director of the Rowan County Department of Social Services.

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