Post begins accepting 2021 Christmas Happiness Fund donations

Published 11:15 am Saturday, November 27, 2021

SALISBURY — With help from the Salisbury Post’s Christmas Happiness Fund, the Salvation Army of Rowan County expects to serve hundreds of families this year.

Since 1952, the Rowan County community has thought of others during the holiday season and made it possible for local families to buy presents for their children through the Post’s annual Christmas Happiness Fund. The fund began when then-Salisbury Post Editor Spencer Murphy asked readers to help Rowan County children receive something for Christmas. Murphy spoke with Lucille Donnelly, head of the county’s welfare department, who said many families didn’t have enough money to buy their children gifts.

Murphy asked readers for help in an editorial. In that first year, the community helped raise $1,811.41. The county population has continued to climb as many more families find it difficult to make ends meet and this year has been no exception. In the nearly 70 years since Murphy’s first challenge, the community hasn’t failed to accept the call.

The process is simple: individuals donate monetary gifts to the Christmas Happiness Fund, which is collected by the Salisbury Post. Usually, donations are made in honor or memory of someone. All money collected is then given to the Rowan County Salvation Army, which issues gift cards to families to buy presents. Recipients register in advance through the Christmas Bureau, which hosts an application drive where families apply for multiple programs, including Christmas Happiness and the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree.

The application process, which has already concluded, went online in 2020 because of COVID-19 and remained that way this year

Majs. Karl and Janice Dahlin, who lead the local Salvation Army, said about 430 families will receive assistance from at Christmastime. That could involve more than 1,000 children, the Dahlins said.

“All kids should be able to experience the joy of celebrating Christmas by opening a present on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, regardless of their family situation,” the Dahlins said in an email. “When a mother has to choose between paying the light bill or buying Christmas gifts for her kids, it is a heartbreaking choice. Without Christmas Happiness, without Angel Tree and Project Santa, those kids wouldn’t be able to celebrate Christmas.”

The programs put joy on the faces of children in the community at Christmas time. When parents see that joy, they feel hope again, the Dahlins said.

“You may just see a Spiderman, soccer ball or bike,” the couple said. “A mom or dad sees hope or a restored faith.”

Last year, the Christmas Happiness program raised more than $42,500 to help local children.

Donation forms have already started appearing in the newspaper. Any contributions given after the holidays are reserved to begin the fund for the following year.

Contributions can be brought to the Salisbury Post, located at 131 West Innes St., weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. or mailed to Christmas Happiness, c/o Salisbury Post, P.O. Box 4639, Salisbury, NC 28145. Checks can be made payable to Christmas Happiness Fund and donations can also be placed in the Salisbury Post front door mail slot.

Donations received already include:

• In memory of our parents, Mr. and Mrs. Mark McKnight and Mr. and Mrs. C.F. Benson, by M.D. and Mary Ann McKnight, $200.

• In memory of Ida Mae and Whitney Kluttz by Sarah Holshouser, $100.

• In memory of William F. Bloodworth by Bobby and Relena Talbert, $25.

• In memory of Bud and Retta McClamrock and in memory of Darwin and Dallie Billingsley, by David and Kim Billingsley, $250.

• In honor of Chuck and Ann Recesso by Jim and Jeanie Doty and in honor of Olivia, Sophia, Cooper and Avery Doty by PawPaw and MeMe Doty, $125.

• In memory of Leo and Geraldine Miller by Lana Miller, $100.

• Sheila Brownlow, $25.

Daily total: $825