Operation Holiday

’Tis the season for giving.

As people throughout the world celebrate the holidays of December, be it Christmas or Hanukkah or just the end of another year, many reflect on the blessings they enjoy and the unfortunate circumstances of others who may be struggling.

The news of families who lose their homes and all their belongings in a fire, the sad tales of parents watching children suffering from cancer, the heartbreaking pictures of people who are hungry and cold — these are the things that stir us, especially at this time of year.

The holiday atmosphere — the music, the decorations, the portrayals of family gifts and comforts — make bleak situations seem bleaker, a contrast captured in Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” as well as countless Hallmark and Lifetime specials.

While we are enjoying the revelry of the holidays, our humanity insists that we remember the struggles of others, especially those in our own communities.

In our work at community newspapers, we see it firsthand.

Newspapers in small towns and suburbs are the bearers of the worst news — the fires that leave people with nothing but the clothes on their backs, the accidents and illnesses that leave families with unmanageable medical expense, the circumstances that create hunger and homelessness.

These days that news is more often read on a website or mobile app or Facebook page, but it is nonetheless the community newspapers that tell local stories of joy and sorrow.

Alongside the heartbreaking stories that we report, we also share the news of many giving programs in our communities. Some are managed by international organizations like The Salvation Army; some are carried out by a family, a sports team, a classroom or an organization that just wants to give back by addressing the need around them.

Local news sites are also at the heart of local giving. The Delaware County Daily Times is in its 48th year of the “Daily Times Merry Christmas Fund” raising money that helps hundreds of needy families across the county in partnership with The Salvation Army of Chester.

Operation Holiday, which began at The Mercury, this year expanded to include readers of The Reporter, Times Herald and Daily Local News. The program is its 29th year providing food and gifts so that children in Montgomery and Chester counties have food to eat and gifts to open, no matter how poor or difficult their family situation may be.

This year more than $30,000 in donations allowed the program to provide food and gifts for 107 families with 325 children in need.

Families are referred by local agencies and churches. Food, which includes the fixings for a holiday dinner as well as staples for the pantry, is ordered, bought, packed and distributed in partnership with Weis Markets, Goodwill Fire Company of Pottstown, and Pottstown High School student government volunteers.

Gift cards for every child in the program 17 years of age or younger are purchased through Boscov’s and distributed in partnership with the referring agencies. TriCounty Community Network assisted in this year's program by providing a portal for online donations. 

The Merry Christmas Fund and Operation Holiday are funded solely by reader contributions, from $10 to $1,000, demonstrating the commitment and loyalty of our readers.

Every dollar raised stays local and goes to those less fortunate in the towns where we live, where we worship, where we shop, and where we get our local news.

This holiday season, as always, we thank our readers for supporting local charities.

Your gifts make the season brighter for those less fortunate.

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