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Newfane's Mrs. Claus seeks donations for holiday drive to help Niagara County's poor

BURT -- For more than 30 years, Denise Noble has been distributing donated toys, winter clothing and Christmas trees with all of the trimmings to needy families throughout rural Niagara County.

She is making her plea for donations again this holiday season, but, she said she is doing so with greater urgency because she has recently been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, which leaves her incapacitated some days.

“I’m on a nerve-blocker and some days are tolerable, but the next day, I can barely move and want to cry,” this Burt resident said. “But I still go to work and run my household.

“I want people to know that no matter how bad you feel, you can still do some good and help others,” added this 51-year-old grandmother. “I’m going to do this until God says I can’t do it anymore and takes my mobility away.  I have kids and families counting on me.”

Noble is in her 25th year as an instructional aide at Newfane Schools, and also works as a personal care provider.

She said she gathers names of the needy through the schools and just word-of-mouth.

“I help the working poor out here, in the country,” she said. “We don’t get any help from the cities -- from Niagara Falls or Buffalo. People don’t realize that. I help families from Medina to Ransomville, kids in fifth grade and younger, who still believe in Santa.

“I have 48 names on my list right now, and every day, I get more,” she said. “I can’t promise anyone anything, but I put their names on my list.”

Noble is looking for donations of toys, artificial Christmas trees under 6-foot with ornaments and lights, winter clothing and footwear and bedding.

“I am appreciative of anything we get, but monetary donations or gift cards really help, because then I can shop (specifically) for the child,” Noble said. “Parents tell us if their child likes Dora or Mickey Mouse or Elmo and I like to buy what the child wants. I went to Toys R Us four times last year to shop, but I check the deals and also go to Walmart and Target. We do the best we can.”

Noble relies on friends and family to pitch in with her holiday project, and said that even her 9-year-old granddaughter, Savannah Robins, is a big help.

“People can call me or email me and we’ll arrange a pick-up or drop-off (of donations),” Noble said.

Noble may be reached at (716) 449-1761 or Monetary donations may be mailed to: The Pay it Forward Charitable Organization of WNY Inc., P.O. Box 204, Newfane, NY 14108.

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