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Mother hopes to make child's holiday brighter

| Sunday, Dec. 22, 2002

A single mother in her 20s has hit hard times.

Her only source of income is a meager, monthly child support check from the father of her 3-year-old daughter.

The Vandergrift mom came to the Salvation Army for help.

"The only income she's got is the child support the father pays," said Capt. Debra Stedman, of the Kiski Valley Salvation Army. "She makes less than $400 a month."

The woman signed up for the Salvation Army's food bank and for Operation Santa Claus, in hopes of making the holidays a little brighter for her daughter.

"She needed the help, and she came and applied," Stedman said. "This is the first year for her."

Operation Santa Claus will be met with joy by this woman and all the others who benefit from it, said Mary Ann Domiano, a caseworker at the Kiski Valley Salvation Army.

"A lot of them, that's how they get their turkey or ham," she said. "We've never had any complaints."

This year Operation Santa Claus will provide Christmas dinner to 7,415 families and stockings to more than 9,000 children. Recipients are from a four-county area served by 26 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 younger.

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