By Chris Ruvo:
During the holiday season a couple years ago, James Nangeroni felt a pull on his heart that couldn’t be ignored.
It occurred while he was reading an article about Give A Christmas, the annual holiday fund drive run in partnership between The Intelligencer and the Bucks County Opportunity Council.
Upon reading that money donated to Give A Christmas goes to support local people struggling with financial hardship during the holidays, Nangeroni knew he had to contribute to the cause.
“I was reading the article and felt touched and then motivated,” said Nangeroni, a Doylestown resident. “We’re always keeping our eyes open for worthy causes to support, and this was definitely one we felt it was important to make a contribution to.”
Nangeroni made the donation, and did so again the following year. He encourages others to do the same this holiday season.
“Any amount of money can help make a big difference in someone else’s life,” he said. “If everyone gives what they can, the world will be a better place.”
The need for donations is real. In Bucks County, 6.6 percent of the population — some 41,818 people — are living below the poverty line.
Sometimes, especially in the well-off suburbs and scenic rural areas of Central and Upper Bucks County and eastern Montgomery County — areas that Give A Christmas serves — that poverty goes unnoticed. But it’s there, and there’s a moral calling to help address it, said leaders at the Bucks County Opportunity Council.
“Poverty is hidden in Bucks, but it exists,” said Erin A. Lukoss, executive director of the Opportunity Council. “It doesn’t look one specific way. It can be a single parent with two children, an elderly person trying to keep the home they’ve lived in for 50 years, a young college student just starting out, a two-parent household with a few children, or an individual working a minimum-wage job.”
Since Give a Christmas launched in 1988, the fund has been helping people in such circumstances thanks to the generous contributions of the community. In total, Intelligencer readers have given about $2.8 million to help less fortunate families residing in Central and Upper Bucks County, as well as Eastern Montgomery County and the North Penn and Indian Valley communities.
Last year alone, Intelligencer readers contributed $126,594.64 to Give A Christmas.
Readers can rest assured the money fuels needed real-world support initiatives, including helping beneficiaries buy Christmas gifts and groceries, as well as aiding with rent payments, medical bills and utility needs.
The Bucks County Opportunity Council administers the Give A Christmas Fund, 10 percent of the proceeds from which are shared with the Keystone Opportunity Center in Montgomery County. Complementing each other, the two community action agencies work on behalf of Give A Christmas to identify individuals and families needing financial assistance during the holidays.
“Give A Christmas is a chance to give back and make someone else’s life better,” said Nangeroni. “It’s something we can do to support our community.”