Byline: Ellie Oleson
COLUMN: TELEGRAM & GAZETTE SANTA
Thanks to a hungry bunch of generous folks at the Tri-River Family Health Center in Uxbridge, hundreds of children have received toys and books for the holidays over the past few decades.
In a tradition begun more than 25 years ago at the suggestion of retired receptionist Marien Chartier, anyone who buys a candy bar, chips or other snack from the employee snack drawer or, in summer, an ice cream from the freezer at the center pays a little more for charity.
Richard J. DeSimone, administrator, said all candy drawer profits, which this year totaled $400, are donated to the Telegram & Gazette Santa Fund.
"The trick is the candy drawer. I'm glad we can do something to help."
He said he hoped a plan to convert to healthier options in the snack drawer will not affect the size of next year's donation.
Tri-River at 281 East Hartford Ave. in Uxbridge is a clinical affiliate of UMass Memorial Medical Center. Tri-River offers primary care for adults and children by specialists in internal medicine and pediatrics, and gives direct access to Milford Regional Medical Center, another affiliate of UMass Memorial, when needed.
Tri-River is also a residency training site for internal medicine and pediatrics for the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
Donna M. Boucher, administrative secretary, said nearly every employees at the center participates in the fundraiser for the T&G Santa.
"We all contribute. We like to make sure the unfortunate are taken care of. We've been doing it for years."
In its 74th year, the T&G Santa Fund collects thousands of donations from generous readers and area residents to help buy toys for children in need in Central Massachusetts.
Children 12 and younger who would otherwise not receive any holiday gifts are eligible to receive at least two toys each. When signing up at an area agency, parents or guardians should bring personal identification for each family member and proof of address and income.
No applications will be accepted directly by the T&G.
Area agencies accepting applications for assistance include: the Salvation Army, Catholic Charities Family and Children's Services of Southbridge, Gardner Community Action Committee, WHEAT Community Services and Winchendon Community Action Committee.
Anyone who wishes to contribute to the fund can do so by clipping and filling out the form in the newspaper and mailing it to Telegram & Gazette Santa Fund, c/o Commerce...