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In New Hampshire: Santa Wants You!

November 18, 2008

Concord, NH – "Santa" is recruiting elves in New Hampshire. The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services has identified about 3,000 families, all of whom need a little holiday help this year.

Since 1960, making sure those families have a happy holiday has been the responsibility of volunteers from the State Employees' Association. Spokesman Mike Barwell says 2,600 families with children have sponsors, and 400 are still waiting to be "adopted."

"So many families are living on the edge with high food costs, high fuel costs, and problems with housing availability. It's a very tough year."

The record number of families needing help, and the gift lists themselves, show just how hard families have been hit by the economic crisis, says Barwell.

"They are in need of just basic stuff. Some of these kids need good winter boots, winter clothes, jackets or mittens. This is not just about toys."

Even the toy requests have changed along the change in the economy, Barwell adds, with art supplies and books on the lists instead of electronics. He says families are awaiting holiday "adoption" in every county. Browse their wish lists online, at www.seiu1984.org. The deadline for collecting gifts is December 1.

Deborah Smith/Deb Courson, Public News Service - NH