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“During the holidays, the families we serve often have to choose between paying a utility bill or buying gifts for their children,” said Maryse Wirbal, CEO of the Front Door Agency. “When they pick up their gifts, we can see the relief in their expressions.”

83 local businesses, organizations, and individuals (hundreds of donors in all) filled the ballroom at the Courtyard by Marriott in Nashua with toys, warm clothing, and groceries for nearly 500 children in need. The collection is part of the Front Door Agency’s Annual Holiday Program, which pairs families in need with “adopters” who help relieve the financial burden of the holidays and give families something to look forward to on Christmas Day.

Many of the 254 families that picked up gifts this week were eager to share their appreciation. Julia is a mother of two who works part-time in order to help her son who has special needs. “The holidays are always tough financially,” she said. “The Holiday Program always makes it easier for us.” Christine is a widowed grandmother who lives on a fixed income. She got sole custody of her teenage granddaughter a few years ago and has struggled to afford more than the bare necessities. The Holiday Program will help make Christmas special again for the pair.

Kelly is one of the many single moms we met through this year’s Holiday Program. This summer, a neighbor broke her five-year-old daughter’s bike. She couldn’t afford to replace it right away, so when she saw our volunteers rolling a brand new bike out to her car today, she got emotional. “She’s going to LOVE it,” she said. 

“During the holidays, the families we serve often have to choose between paying a utility bill or buying gifts for their children,” said Maryse Wirbal, CEO of the Front Door Agency, which helps families transition from crisis to self-sufficiency. “When they pick up their gifts, we can see the relief in their expressions. To them, the donations represent hope. To me, they represent the generous spirit of our community. I am once again humbled by how many local businesses and organizations stepped up to make this year’s Holiday Program a success.”

Citizen’s Bank is one of them. Its employees collected funds to purchase gifts for the young mothers and children in the Agency’s Transformational Housing Program. When they visited Time to Clay, Leda Lanes, and Cassandra Salon & Spa to purchase gift cards, their generosity snowballed. These local businesses chose to donate additional gift cards on top of what was purchased by Citizens Bank. Citizens Bank employees also donated artificial trees and decorations to help families served by the Agency get into the holiday spirit.

BAE is another company that contributed in a big way. This year, BAE employees filled an entire truck with gifts for 165 children. Nashua Rotary West also got into the holiday spirit by adopting 50 families this year. Students and staff from Main Dunstable School and World Academy also provided gifts for multiple families. And parishioners from both Church of the Good Shepherd and St. Joseph the Worker Parish also teamed up to help. Both churches have supported the Holiday Program since its inception. The Program also receives support from the Nashua Telegraph United Way Santa Fund.

The Agency has offered a Holiday Program since it was founded in 1987, and this is the fifth consecutive year that the Courtyard by Marriott and Roedel Companies provided space to collect and sort gifts. “It has been our pleasure to partner with the Front Door Agency for the past five years by providing space to host their annual Holiday Program,” said Greg Geddes, General Manager of the Courtyard Marriott in Nashua. “The past couple of years have been challenging to say the least for all, and now more than ever these families need our help. It has been overwhelming to see the generosity of our community and we are proud to be part of it. We have received the utmost support from our parent company, Roedel Companies, whose core values include investing in the communities we serve.”

Thank you to everyone who supported our Annual Holiday Program! There’s still time to make a difference. Your donation helps us provide services year-round to help families in Greater Nashua toward self-sufficiency.