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Editorial: Christmas Happiness needs your help

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On Thanksgiving Day, the Salisbury Post will launch what has been a powerful community tradition since 1952 — raising funds to help children for whom Dec. 25 might otherwise be just another day.

It’s called Christmas Happiness.

Readers send donations to the Post, often with a heartfelt tribute to a loved one, and we list the names and amounts in the paper. Our business office turns the money over to the Salvation Army, which distributes the funds to qualified families in the form of $35 gift vouchers for children 12 and under. That’s not a huge sum, but it should be enough to buy a few toys or items of clothing so a child won’t feel left out on Christmas Day.

Editor Spencer Murphy put out the first call for donations to Christmas Happiness. He had learned from Lucille Donnelly, head of the county Welfare Department, that many families would be doing without gifts for their children that Christmas. “Help!” Murphy wrote in an editorial, and asked Post readers to chip in. A total of $1,811.41 came in.

Rowan’s population and its need have grown since then. Last year your compassionate gifts totaled more than $55,000. Through the years, Christmas Happiness has touched thousands of lives, proof again that this is a caring community.

Sixty-four years after Christmas Happiness started, our country has  technology and resources that Murphy and Donnelly never imagined. Yet poverty persists, and it’s hitting children particularly hard. Child poverty in Rowan County has jumped from 15 percent in 2000 to nearly 28 percent in 2013. The middle-class upbringing that most of us enjoyed is out of reach for those children.

Unfortunately, the joy of Christmas can be out of their reach, too.

As we count our blessings this Thanksgiving, let’s remember children who grow up amid scarcity and want. “If you are really thankful, what do you do?” businessman and philanthropist W. Clement Stone once said. “You share.”

Please consider sharing with Christmas Happiness this year. As Spencer Murphy put it, “Time is short. If you would like to help make a miracle happen, won’t you hurry?”

Please make checks out to Christmas Happiness and mail to P.O. Box 4639, Salisbury, NC 28145, or deliver to our office at 131 W. Innes St.

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