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Elderly Irwin couple can't afford to heat their home

| Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2001

Like many others last year, an elderly Irwin couple couldn't keep pace with their heating bills.

So they turned off their furnace during the daytime and bundled up, donning winter hats and coats. At night, they would allow themselves some heat.

The couple, in their 70s, has a rough time making ends meet on Supplemental Security Income. The bag of groceries and food voucher they receive each month from the Irwin Service Unit of the Salvation Army helps to get them through.

This year, they have signed up for holiday assistance once again. And Operation Santa Claus will help them out, providing the ingredients for a festive holiday meal with all the trimmings.

Operation Santa Claus will provide Christmas dinner to 6,700 families and stockings to 8,400 children. Recipients are from a five-county area served by 25 Salvation Army units.

Each grocery bag contains the fixings for a complete holiday meal, including a gift certificate valued at $10 for a meat item of the family's choice. Also on the menu: scalloped potatoes, stuffing, green beans, whole kernel corn, fruit-flavored gelatin, fruit cocktail, applesauce, blueberry muffins, snack crackers, holiday cookies and hot cocoa. Each stocking contains an assortment of sweets and treats including crayons and activity books suitable for children ages 12 and under.

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