JOYFUL! Making Christmas more merry for the children served by Christian Community Service (CCS) and their parents were the members of the Union Congregational Church who donated and decorated 28 boxes filled with wrapping paper, decorations and treats. Dorothy Rudloff’s smile says it all as she sits among the festive display arranged in the sanctuary prior to their delivery. (Rev. Rick Hughes Photo)



NORTH READING — The generosity of the Transcript’s readers never ceases to amaze us. In only the second week of our 32nd annual Christmas fund to benefit the nonprofit Christian Community Service (CCS), donations to the fund have soared to nearly $12,600!

The tally ranged from $10 to $10,000 this past week, thanks in large part to the Anonymous Angels who supported the Neighbor Helping Neighbor Fund with a $10,000 donation as well as another $1,000 from the good folks at China Cuisine, Victor and May Hui, and a combination of several memorial donations. Donations of any amount are gratefully accepted as it all adds up. Many people continue to struggle in this economy, especially with inflation driving up the costs of the basics like food and gasoline.

As many know, CCS is an all-volunteer organization that does a fantastic job running the North Reading Food Pantry, which relocated from the old stage at the Town Hall to private property at 150 Haverhill St. on the grounds of the Union Congregational Church about 18 months ago after a successful year-long capital campaign. CCS volunteers ensure that North Reading residents struggling to make ends meet won’t go hungry. The assistance provided every other week enables clients to stretch their dollars, lessening the chances that they’ll have to choose between food and household staples or paying a utility bill.

CCS is comprised of members of all the town’s churches as well as community members at large. Assistance is provided to both individuals and families to any resident in need without regard to religious affiliation, if any. And donors to CCS can be assured of two things: their donations help their neighbors right here in North Reading who obtain such services and financial counseling in confidence, and not one dime donated to CCS has ever been spent on a salary because the organization is truly run by volunteers who simply enjoy helping their neighbors.

In addition to the Food Pantry, CCS has a network of volunteers throughout town who assist them in providing several other benefits to their clients each year, such as backpacks filled with school supplies in September; Thanksgiving baskets and hot meals delivered to shut-ins on Thanksgiving Day; as well as Christmas baskets and Christmas gifts for the children.

The Transcript’s Neighbor Helping Neighbor Fund also helps re-supply the emergency aid fund for clients experiencing extenuating circumstances related to illness, job loss or the like.

If such aid is deemed warranted by CCS, payments are made directly to the company to cover those outstanding bills, such as to a landlord or a utility company.

Do something nice, twice

The Horseshoe Grille, 226 Main St., continues to offer its patrons a chance to give back to the Transcript’s Neighbor Helping Neighbor Fund for those who “do something nice, twice.” This program was originated by former owners Pat and Kathi Lee, and is being continued by the new owners, Brad Atkinson, Ryan Cox and Noah Goldstein, who came on board November 1.

This is how it works: Patrons who purchase $100 in gift cards to the Horseshoe during the holiday season are eligible to receive a $20 gift certificate for themselves to use at the restaurant. However, upon request, the restaurant will donate the $20 face value of the give-back certificate to the NHNF and CCS. At the conclusion of their holiday gift card sales, the Horseshoe will write a check representing the funds raised. The Transcript will acknowledge the total donation from the challenge when we conclude the fund for the season just after the new year.

How to donate

It’s easy to donate to the Neighbor Helping Neighbor Fund. As promised, the Transcript will acknowledge each donation received in print and pass them on to CCS. All donations are tax deductible as CCS is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Those who donate $250 or more will be automatically mailed a tax receipt. CCS will provide receipts upon request for donations under $250 if the donor provides a name and address.

Donors are welcome to dedicate their donations to a loved one; simply include a note with your check. If you wish to remain anonymous please let us know. Over the years many donors have consistently made anonymous donations and that choice is always respected. To help keep the weekly tally straight we may add a word such as “anonymous snowman” to differentiate between various anonymous donors, especially if the amounts are the same.

Make checks payable to CCS

Please make checks payable to “Christian Community Service” or “CCS,” not to the newspaper. Checks may be mailed to the North Reading Transcript “NHNF” at 26 Albion St., Wakefield, MA 01880.

You may also drop donations off in person at our office at the above address in downtown Wakefield (a night drop box is located opposite the front door for contactless donations).

Those who wish to drop off their donation in person closer to home may also do so at the North Reading branch of the Reading Cooperative Bank, 170 Park St. (next to Ryer’s Store). Please specify to the bank teller your intention to donate to the Transcript’s “Neighbor Helping Neighbor Fund” to ensure it is recorded on the tally sheet as you would like it to appear in print. The bank forwards these sheets to us for acknowledgement in the newspaper.

Transcript 2021 NHNF donor list, week 2:

• Anonymous Angels— $10,000

• China Cuisine Inc.— $1,000

• Kris Kringle— $300

• Jeff Strong— $100

• D. Christopher Page— $100

• In memory of Bob Mauceri— $50

• In loving memory of Karen St. Pierre— $50

• In memory of Dick Smith— $50

• Mr. & Mrs. Joseph P. Evans— $250

• In loving memory of Michael M. Lally— $100

• In loving memory of Holly Wade— $100

• In loving memory of Kerri Hernandez— $100

• Sylvia L. Maio— $10

• In memory of Gigi Benjamin— $10

Week 2 subtotal $12,170

Previously acknowledged $425

New total $12,595