Toys for Joy: You can help ease a Monroe County family's holiday woes

·4 min read

In 2019, I wrote about the Christmas of 2004 for a Toys for Joy column. Those times seemed so much simpler, compared to now.

I wrote about food insecurity, and how my family depended on our Pennsylvania Access card when I was a teenager. To this day, food shopping is an outing I look forward to.

Today, the pandemic has complicated things for many.

According to the United States Government Accountability Office, COVID-19 increased food insecurity for many Americans, due to a plethora of issues such as supply chain disruptions and school closures.

As we eye the end of the pandemic, another related issue has come to the forefront: inflation.

According to a story from USA TODAY, consumer prices across the nation have spiked 6.2% in the last year, the largest 12-month increase since 1990. Food prices are up 5.4%, with the price of meat, poultry, fish and eggs up 11.9% from a year ago.

From USA TODAY: Food banks adapt to meet rising need amid inflation, supply chain woes

Such increases can make it even harder for families that were just skating by before.

I remember my mother telling me while we were growing up to not judge someone by the food they were buying with their food stamps. Someone might be celebrating a special occasion like a birthday or a new job. Or they may have had a rough week entirely, and indulging in a special meal on a Friday might be just what the doctor ordered to lift their spirits. I ate my share of scrumptious birthday meals as a teen thanks to my parents' PA Access card.

Pennsylvanians can now apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) over the phone by calling 1-866-550-4355. Applications can also be submitted online via compass.state.pa.us

During the holidays, my mom and dad always tried to give us the best of everything, even when it seemed unattainable.

For me growing up, Christmas was more about the food than the gifts. The smell of a bustling kitchen is all I need for holiday nostalgia to kick in.

As I wrote in 2019, Christmas Eve was a time to honor my Italian heritage with the feast of seven fishes. On Christmas Day, we indulged in Puerto Rican holiday staples like pernil and pasteles.

Such foods may be a bit more expensive this year, and that may impact some Pocono families' ability to provide that special holiday experience for their children.

You can help us ease that burden for families in Monroe County. No family should have to choose between a special Christmas dinner and presents for their little ones.

This holiday season, the Pocono Record has partnered with AllOne for our annual Toys for Joy fundraising campaign. The partnership allows the public to make donations online for the first time.

Donations, which will be accepted through Dec. 24, must be made online, or by check or money order only. No cash can be accepted.

Checks need to be made out to AllOne Charities and mailed to 83 East Union St., Wilkes Barre, PA 18701.

To donate online, go to formstack.io/21E47.

The money raised this month will benefit the Pleasant Valley Ecumenical Network, the Salvation Army, and Pocono Services for Families and Children.

These organizations work tirelessly to help the Monroe County community. Toys for Joy funds go towards helping needy families in the area give their children a magical Christmas.

As in previous years, donors get their name and donation printed in the paper.

From the bottom of my heart, and on behalf of the Record, I thank you for your generous donations to this campaign. Your support truly makes the holiday season bright.

Toys for Joy is the Pocono Record’s annual holiday campaign which benefits three local charities in the Poconos. This year, the Record has partnered with AllOne Charities to gather and distribute those funds.
Toys for Joy is the Pocono Record’s annual holiday campaign which benefits three local charities in the Poconos. This year, the Record has partnered with AllOne Charities to gather and distribute those funds.

Donations as of Dec. 9

$25- Jennifer Rourke: "In loving memory of our dad"

$50- David & Patti Skvoretz: "In memory of our parents John & Ruth, Victor & June"

$50- Alison Pittis: "In memory of: Elizabeth Pittis, Joan Pittis and Jaube Haight"

$200- Kathleen McIntosh

$100- Anda Staab: "In honor of Astrida"

$50- Joanne Pitzer: "In memory of my mom who loved little kids"

$25- Patricia Fish

$25- George Eberz: "In honor of Christian Fiedler"

$40- Judith Jabara

$1- B. Jones

Current total: $697

Ashley Fontones is the Managing Editor at Pocono Record. Reach her at afontones@poconorecord.com.

This article originally appeared on Pocono Record: No family should have to choose between a Christmas dinner and gifts

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