Editor Emeritus - Ed Wilkinson

Smiles Make Bright Christmas Worthwhile

The final count for The Tablet’s Bright Christmas Appeal is not yet complete. But as we return from a week out of the office, we can report that more than 2,500 readers have taken the time to send us a donation. So far, we have collected $91,410.36. The average contribution is slightly more than $36.

That average donation is higher than we have received in the past. So, we’re confident that when all the mail has been opened, the total amount for Bright Christmas will exceed $100,000.

Most of the parties that are conducted with Bright Christmas money were held during the Christmas holiday, but this weekend, there will be more gift-giving as parishes celebrate the Feast of the Three Kings, also known as the Feast of the Epiphany.

We’re grateful that so many of you once again took the opportunity to give to Bright Christmas. For more than 40 years, The Tablet has run this campaign to assist diocesan parishes and agencies and so many of you have been involved all these years.

The thank you letters have been arriving. Like the one we received from Robert Siebel, the executive director of Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens.

“Once received, the funds will be used to purchase supermarket gift cards to assist families in need who simply cannot afford to purchase the supplies for their Christmas meal,” writes Siebel.

“As you know, we have seen a major increase in people coming to our food pantries this holiday season, so this grant is very timely. The Bright Christmas funds will give hundreds of our families in need the opportunity to shop for their own holiday meal this Christmas – lifting their spirits, perhaps the greatest gift of all.”

I also enjoy all of the notes that people attach with their Bright Christmas donations. Like John Beihil of Bayside, who recalled that “I went to St. Malachy’s School from age six to nine and I lived at 310 Hendricks St. The school was a few blocks from St. Michael’s. I hope to help the children and parents in that area.”

Former Tablet reporter Matt Monahan sent in his contribution with a note that he hoped to carry on the Bright Christmas tradition that his father always maintained. “Pop” passed away this year. “He was a decades-long supporter of Bright Christmas because he knew that every cent went where the need is greatest,” writes Matt.

Many donations come from out of state. (The Tablet has subscriptions in 45 states in the country.) Like the one from Anne Marie Frank, who wrote, “Thank you so much for sending me The Tablet each week. I was a parishioner of St. Luke’s, Whitestone, for 76 years and then moved to Florida with my daughter and family. My Tablet keeps me informed and I hope this small donation will be of some help for the Bright Christmas fund.”

Be assured that each and every dollar helps add up to a substantial sum. And be assured that good things are happening.

Father Luis Laverde, administrator of St. Rita’s parish in East New York, tell us so. He writes, “Your Bright Christmas Campaign will once again help us put a smile on our children’s faces.”

Watch for the final statistics from Bright Christmas in a future edition. Until then, thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

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