Byline: Ellie Oleson
For the 75th year in a row, thousands of needy children received toys during the holiday season thanks to the generous donors to the Telegram & Gazette Santa Fund.
A preliminary total of 7,352 children in 3,576 families received toys and books from the T&G Santa in 2013, when there were 1,712 donors, who gave a total of $134,628.34.
Mary C. Dwinell, fund coordinator, said most of the children who received the toys believed they were from Santa Claus or from parents or caregivers. Like generations of recipients before them, the children probably will never know who their true holiday benefactors were.
"We are extremely grateful to our readers and our community for their ongoing generosity and commitment to the T&G Santa Fund,'' Ms. Dwinell said.
Among this year's major donors were: the Small Business Service Bureau Inc. of Worcester; Greenberg, Rosenblatt, Kull and Bitsoli, PC of Worcester; Dr. Stephen Desio of Desio Sports Medicine of Worcester; Lamoureux Ford of East Brookfield; Telegram & Gazette single copy sales; students of Burncoat Middle School, which hosted a "penny war''; Worcester County Independent Insurance Agents; Brody's Diner of Shrewsbury; American Legion Paxton Post; Tri River Family Health Center; Worcester Woman's Club; Red Knights Firefighters; and the Retired Men's Club of Greendale.
Generous individuals who contributed included: Millbury residents Cecilia Ann Bott and her father, Steven Russell Bott, who donated in honor of MIAs and POWs; Northboro resident Mary DeFeudis, who donated in memory of Catherine Streeter; Paul Tinsley, who donated in memory of family members; and Shirley A. Huntington of Oxford, who donated in memory of David and Russell Huntington; the Gendron family, who donate every year in memory of Jonathan Scott Gendron; the Fels Family Foundation; and Mike, Katie and Corlyn Voorhees, who honored family members with their donation. Multiple donors gave in memory of Robert E. O'Connell, formerly with O'Connell Fire Protection.
There were donations from schoolchildren and Boy Scouts, The Columbus Day Parade Committee, hospital employees, church groups, veterinarians, teachers, town officials, city workers, religious retirees from Notre Dame du Lac assisted living center, and many more.
Often, donations were made in memory of loved ones, from honored war dead to grandparents, parents and pets. Sonja Carr of Oxford and Auburn honored her beloved friend Carole Sampson.
There were also many contributions made anonymously in honor of grandchildren, children, spouses and friends, as well as mysterious donations in honor of Hamish, Nono, Bips, Grendl, Racicot's Turkey Dip, JuMBLed Group, Belle the Boop, and others.
In addition to thanking all donors, the T&G Santa Fund wishes to recognize all those who processed the applications and delivered toys to families, especially the Salvation Army and...