Letter to the editor: Be a Santa for less fortunate children


“Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS.” New York Sun editorial Sept. 21, 1897. Most of us are familiar with this famous letter, which has become one of the most reprinted newspaper editorials.

As a member of the United Way of Naugatuck & Beacon Falls Board of Directors, I am continuously reminded of the generosity that abounds in our communities and I would say that “Yes Virginia, there are MANY Santa Clauses in Naugatuck & Beacon Falls!”

While many little children write a letter to Santa, telling him that they have been good boys or girls asking for a doll, a soccer ball, or perhaps the latest video game or cell phone, there are many good boys and girls who are not so fortunate as to receive toys from their “wish list”.

In fact, their “wish list” might not include toys at all. The Santas who try to fill a bag for these families know that what is needed for too many families is shelter, financial assistance, physical and mental health care, and sometimes something as simple, yet vital, as a companion, mentor or coach.

Who are the Santa Clauses who contribute to the United Way of Naugatuck & Beacon Falls thus enabling this community organization to fund our direct service providers? They are many different people, with many different life experiences, family histories, and careers. Some have experienced the same needs. Others have never been so unfortunate, but instead have been blessed with benevolent characters. From our top 5 corporate & employee contributors (Naugatuck Savings Bank, Naugatuck Valley Savings & Loan, Flabeg – formerly Naugatuck Glass, Naugatuck Public Schools and ITW Powertrain Fastening) to the many small businesses (themselves struggling to survive through this economy) and individual contributors, we are indeed surrounded by Santa Clauses!

Their contributions, and yours if you support the United Way of Naugatuck & Beacon Falls, fund our partner agencies, who provide direct assistance: the Naugatuck YMCA, Naugatuck/Beacon Falls Campership Fund, Nutmeg Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Salvation Army, American Red Cross and Safe Haven of Greater Waterbury, to name a few. Also, knowing what a difference participating in team sports and our volunteer coaches make in our children’s lives, we support youth sports leagues.

You can be a Santa too! There are many ways to contribute. Financial contributions can be made through payroll deductions or through supporting our various events. Volunteer your time and become one of the hundreds of people in Naugatuck and Beacon Falls who give their time at schools, on the fields and with community service groups.

Live United is more than a motto for the United Way; it is a way of living. For more information on how you can get involved, call us at 203-729-1564 or visit our website at www.unitedwaynaugatuck.org.

Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Clause – he is YOU!

Dorothy Hoff
Board Member United Way of Naugatuck & Beacon Falls