Published in the December 15, 2016 edition


NORTH READING — More than any other time of year, the holiday season evokes memories of Christmases past and lost loved ones who have departed throughout the years. One of the most touching aspects of compiling the annual list of donations to the Transcript’s annual Neighbor Helping Neighbor fund every December is the high number of donations given in memory of those who have left us — dear friends and family members, sometimes even a beloved pet.

So far, in just the third week the Neighbor Fund has been open, there have been donations from Ned and Sandra Kershner remembering friends and relatives and other donations given in memory of Dick Smith and Karen St. Pierre, Eileen Gilmartin, Paul Horan and GiGi Benjamin. There is also an annual donation given in memory of “Chippo,” from Eric and Ariel.

These donations and others like them in the last three weeks are the backbone of the Neighbor Helping Neighbor Fund. It is a gratifying experience that so many readers of this newspaper choose to memorialize those who have passed by making a donation to help the CCS offer assistance throughout the year to those who live among us but whose need may be invisible to us.

Last week, the Transcript told the story of a mother who had recently been laid off and came to the CCS requesting help with her overdue rent. Although that request was outside the organization’s limited resources, CCS was able to help by allowing her to shop the Food Pantry, sign up for a Thanksgiving dinner basket with enough food for eight people and to sign up for Christmas gifts for both of her young children.

That’s all the clients of the CCS and the Food Pantry are looking for – a hand up, not a hand out. With a donation to the Neighbor Fund, you can be part of the process of helping families like this back on track. This is an example of the of the good work the CCS performs in our community on a day in, day out basis throughout the year, not just the holiday season.

Again this year, residents who buy a gift card to the Horseshoe Grille have a chance to help the Neighbor Helping Neighbor Fund. When purchasing a gift card, customers will receive a $20 gift card in return, which they will be given the option of pledging back to the Christian Community Service and the Neighbor Fund. This offer applies to $100 gift cards purchased through Christmas Eve. At the end of that period, Horseshoe Grille owner Pat Lee will write a check to the CCS/Neighbor Fund reflecting the value of the pledged cards.

The CCS is a non–denominational, non–profit organization.  All donations will be acknowledged in the Transcript. Donations may be mailed to the Transcript at P.O. Box 7, North Reading MA. 01864, Donations are tax deductible and a tax receipt will be furnished to anyone who requests one. Receipts are automatically mailed for donations of $250 or more.

For those who prefer to drop off a check in person, donations may be left at the Reading Cooperative Bank, 170 Park St.

Checks should be made payable to the Christian Community Service or “CCS,” not the Transcript. Help make the 2016 Neighbor Helping Neighbor Fund the most successful ever.

Donations this week:

Everett and Molly Leonard$300

Stephen and Joy Hartwell$50

John and Mary Anne Lape$750

Rose Howard$50


Subtotal this week$1,400

Previously Acknowledged$13,485

Total this week$14,885