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This holiday season was especially joyous at the Merrimack Valley YMCA’s Lawrence Branch.

Corporations, businesses, service clubs and individuals joined together to make Christmas special for more than 350 needy and deserving children. Donations began pouring into our Lawrence facility in late November. By mid-December we were sure we would be able to help parents who, although they work, are not able to afford extras. For parents who are struggling during this holiday season, ‘extras’ often means gifts under the Christmas tree for their children.

We had the support of hundreds of generous individuals to make this happen. I would like to thank all of our community friends, as well as employees of the following organizations: Saint Michael’s of North Andover, Highland Street Foundation, Om-Tool, Phillips Academy, Bright Futures, The Department of Nuclear Medicine & Non-Invasive Cardiology at Lawrence General Hospital, Merrimack Golf Course, TD Banknorth, and Creative Learning Academy.

The warmth and generosity during this season overwhelmed us at the YMCA. Area residents helped us to ensure that those less fortunate would experience the excitement of the holiday. People helping people is really what makes the holidays special — and for that we give thanks.

MICHELLE BECOTTE

Merrimack Valley YMCA

Lawrence Branch