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Time is running short, but you can help News Neediest Fund deliver some joy

The holiday season is a time of joy and laughter, especially for young children.

But that image gets quickly wiped away when there’s not enough food on the holiday table or any presents underneath the Christmas tree.

For many families in Western New York this hardship is a constant state of affairs, but one that is particularly difficult during the holiday season. Parents who are struggling with job loss or medical issues, or simply trying to make it on low-wage jobs, have the unenviable task of telling their children not to expect too much. If anything.

The Buffalo News Neediest Fund is helping to change outcomes for as many people as possible during the holiday season, boosting the hopes and spirits of young and young-at-heart. But it requires a communitywide effort, one that reaches deep so close to Christmas.

Donations to the Neediest Fund help 12,000 of the region’s children receive toys for the holiday, and 7,000 families receive meals.

Distribution of holiday meals purchased with cash donations to The News Neediest Fund will be coordinated through the Food Bank of Western New York. Cash donations may be mailed to The News Neediest Fund, P.O. Box 2667, Buffalo, N.Y. 14240-9873, or donate at BuffaloNews.com/NewsNeediest.

The News Neediest Fund is part of a larger collaboration with these organizations in the Western New York Holiday Partnership: Community Action Organization of Erie County, City Reach Church, F.A.T.H.E.R.S., Fellowship Hill Ministries, Hamburg Youth Bureau, Heart Love & Soul, Ladies of Charity/Catholic Charities, Lancaster Youth Bureau, the Marine Corps Toys for Tots, New Creation Fellowship, Niagara Community Action Program, Northtowns Boys and Girls Clubs, Olivencia Community Center, Olmsted Center for Sight – 2-1-1 WNY, Response to Love Center, the Salvation Army, St. John de La Salle Community Care, St. Lawrence Catholic Church Children’s Clinic, TJ Dulski Food Pantry and Matt Urban Hope Center.

The News has been highlighting stories of families struggling to get by with less while somehow instilling joy in the lives of their children. The other day, it was the distressing story of Del Summers, who was not only laid off, but received the news in a text message. Days earlier he discovered his $11,000 set of tools had been stolen, a disaster for a diesel mechanic. The Neediest Fund will help Summers and his wife, Lora Davis, provide a happy holiday for their young children.

There are many, many more people in Western New York who need a hand. Please consider helping them as you prepare for these last few days before Christmas.