NORTH ADAMS -- A nonprofit that tries to make sure every child in Northern Berkshire gets presents during the holidays is looking for help.
The Northern Berkshire Santa Fund, a nonprofit entering its 55th year, provides toys to children in Northern Berkshire whose families would otherwise be unable to afford them during the holidays.
"We do not have the manpower in the Transcript office to process the donations and applications coming in," said Catherine Wandrei, former member of the Santa Fund Board of Directors and human resources manager for New England Newspapers, Inc. "We're in desperate need for volunteers to step up and help keep this going."
The fund has existed in various forms since its inception in 1958 by the Transcript and the Sprague Electric Co. Management Club. After Sprague closed and the Transcript changed ownership, the non-profit was administered by a board of volunteers and led by a president until the mid 2000's, at which point the Transcript and Advocate employees resumed control.
The Transcript has seen multiple staff changes since last year's fund that makes it difficult to carry out the work, Wandrei said. Publisher Peter Lynch, former board president, left the company to pursue a job in another state closer to family. The Transcript office at 85 Main St. has also seen a general reduction in staff.
In order for the program to continue, volunteers will be needed from mid-November to just after Christmas.
"We're only asking for people's help for a six-week time frame," Wandrei said. "It isn't a year-long commitment."
Community members will be needed to process the paperwork involved during the application process, she said.
With no administrative costs, all donations collected go towards purchasing toys. Families wishing to take part in the program submit an application annually, a process that involves social workers and clergy members.
Families who are selected into the program receive gift certificates to receive toys at Cariddi Sales.
The company on State Road has partnered with the fund for 30 years.
Last year, the fund raised $23,991 in donations from individuals, organizations and businesses in the community and provided presents for 582 local children.
Information about family applications to this year's fund will be made available in the coming weeks.
Anyone interested in volunteering should contact Wandrei at 413-496-6305 or the Transcript office at 413-663-3741.
To reach Edward Damon, email email@example.com.