30th annual Neighbor Helping Neighbor Fund surpasses $30,000

Jan 9, 2020 by

Published January 9, 2020


NORTH READING — Little Christmas arrived on Monday with a big send-off by closing out the Transcript’s 30th annual Neighbor Helping Neighbor Fund with an additional $6,745 in donations.

This magical number enables the newspaper to surpass the $30,000 mark for 2019 — $30,032 to be exact!

We want to extend our heartfelt thanks to our generous readers who have made it possible for us to provide a hefty donation to Christian Community Service (CCS) year after year.

The fund originated during the 1990 Christmas season when CCS volunteers made an appeal to the newspaper’s founder, the late Albert E. Sylvia, for assistance in publicizing the need for donations to help local residents who were struggling to pay for the oil needed to heat their homes during the Persian Gulf War. From those few thousands of dollars raised in just a few weeks emerged a fund that continues to provide CCS with its most reliable source of income, enabling these volunteers to run the organization year round on a shoestring.

It’s fitting that this week’s tally includes a donation of $400 in memory of Al and Frances Sylvia from their son, Al Sylvia Jr.

Every dollar donated stays in North Reading to benefit the town’s most vulnerable residents — in confidence and with dignity — through the assistance provided by CCS, a 501(c)(3) organization with an all-volunteer staff. CCS provides this assistance without regard to religious affiliation, if any, year round.

Over 100 families and individuals in town depend upon the Food Pantry assistance to make ends meet year-round. They are also supported through donations of holiday meal gift baskets each Thanksgiving and Christmas, as well as Christmas gifts from the take-a-tag program and other seasonal drives within the community such as back to school supplies, and winter clothing drives. CCS also provides emergency aid to clients, as needed, paid directly to the utility, landlord or other entity when such aid is needed.

By this time next year, it’s likely that the Food Pantry will have moved out of its space in Town Hall (located behind a wall built on a converted stage in the all purpose room of the former Murphy elementary school). Its new home will be on the grounds of the Union Congregational Church in the converted Annex building. The tremendous success of that capital campaign, dubbed The HOME Fund during the 300th anniversary year of the founding of the church, is a direct reflection upon the generous nature of the residents and business owners in this community.

“Do Something Nice, Twice”

The results of the Horseshoe Grille’s “Do Something Nice, Twice” campaign was its most successful to date. By giving patrons who purchased $100 in gift cards the opportunity to donate back the $20 bonus certificate they earned and then matching those funds, hundreds of dollars were raised.

“Our goal was $1,000. Between the November and December promotions we raised $1,480. We’re feeling pretty good about it. And our staff donated $120 to the Neighbor Fund as their gift to us!” commented Horseshoe owner Pat Lee. “We’d like to thank all our patrons who gave back and made it possible for us to match their kindness,” he said.

The $800 donation to the Neighbor fund from the proceeds of the Horseshoe’s November dessert sales promotion was acknowledged in a previous update.

See you next year!

Now that the Transcript’s Neighbor Helping Neighbor Fund is closed, if a donor did not see his or her donation acknowledged in the newspaper during the past several weeks, please contact us (nrtranscript@rcn.com). We’ll double check our records and consult with both CCS and Reading Coop Bank and make any necessary adjustments in the acknowledgements.

Transcript’s 2019 NHNF Week 6 donor list:

• Anonymous Benefactor— $2,000

• Horseshoe Grille’s “Do Something Nice, Twice” drive plus donations from

Pat, Kathi & Veronica Lee & Horseshoe Grille employees— $800

• From Al Sylvia, Jr. in memory of Al and Fran Sylvia— $400

• Emma’s Classic Cuts— $100

• From Andrew and Stephen Vontzalides— $100

• In memory of John & Alice Coughlin— $25

• “A Neighbor” — $25

• Paul & Marci Bailey—  $1,000

• In loving memory of Paul Silvestro— $100

• In loving memory of R.A. & Constance Page— $100

• From Diane & Phil Norris— $100

• Noel & Patricia Kelly— $50

• Patricia & Geoffrey Bemiss— $50

• Anonymous “Santa”— $50

• Jerilyn Martino— $20

• Richard Ham— $50

• Given in memory of Fredrik W. & Elna M. Peterson, Barbara & Robert Edkins,

Jean & Walter Chambers, and Baden “Sonny” West— $1,500

• Marilyn K. Ewer— $25

• North Reading Transcript— $250

Week 6 subtotal— $6,745

Previously acknowledged—  $23,287

Final NHNF 2019 total— $30,032

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