Season to Share: How your donations are making the holidays brighter

3:37 p.m Monday, Dec. 18, 2017 Community
Eli looks up at Santa as he brings him a gift. Members of Circuit Sound, the Clerk & Comptroller’s employee carolers, sang holiday tunes in the West Palm Beach Governmental Center lobby on Monday, December 11, 2017, while money was tossed from the upper floors for collection to benefit the Lennon family, who participated in this year’s “Season to Share” project. (Calla Kessler / The Palm Beach Post)

Money cannot cure cancer. But, given joyfully with a spirit of generosity and community, it can at least greatly lift a flagging spirit.

“To us, it was very amazing,” said Margaret Lennon, describing the feeling of having thousands of dollars literally fall from the sky for her family, thanks to the Clerk and Comptroller’s Office of Palm Beach County and their contribution to the Palm Beach Post’s annual Season To Share campaign.

RELATED: Read about 11 neighbors who need your help, and how to donate

Lennon, who is raising her young grandsons with husband Cecil in a South Bay home in dire need of repair while she and her husband both fight cancer, is just one of this year’s recipients of Season To Share.

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
The Lennon family — from left to right Elijah (age 4), Margaret, Cecil, and Eli (age 2) — attends the Circuit Sound Money Drop at the Governmental Center in West Palm Beach Monday, December 11, 2017.(Bruce R. Bennett / The Palm Beach Post)

Each deserving family, many facing life-threatening illnesses, is nominated by a local agency or charity. Readers like you respond in kind, donating everything from cars to clothes to money for rent. An anonymous long-standing donor left $100,000 to Season to Share this year, designated in their will.

And it’s never too late to donate and join your neighbors helping other neighbors in need. Just visit our website at seasontoshare.org.

Here’s how your contributions are helping make the season brighter:

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Emma Lapaglia, 7, was diagnosed with pre-B cell acute lymphocytic leukemia in May. After rounds of chemotherapy, she is now in remission. (Calla Kessler/The Palm Beach Post)

Little 7-year-old Emma Lapaglia of West Palm Beach is battling a form of cancer called pre-B cell acute lymphocytic leukemia, as her newly single mother, Ashley, struggles to provide financially for Emma and her two young sisters. Community members have reached out, including the Admirals Cove Foundation Board of Directors, which is donating money and gifts to the family including funds towards rent, as well as providing furnishings.

Terrance Williams, of West Palm Beach, who is caring for his grieving nieces and nephew in the aftermath of the death of their mother and his sister, has been overwhelmed with the kindness of the community, says Yvette Flores Acevedo, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters off Palm Beach and Martin Counties, which nominated the family.

“Everyone from police officers and people shopping for groceries stop to say they recognize him from the Palm Beach Post story,” says Acevedo. “Terrance has been so appreciative of everything. The family of seven had no car to get around, they now have two cars. The kids who had to share beds, now have their own bunk beds. Plus, all of the kids will have presents under the tree in time for the holidays!”

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Terrance Williams is photographed with Jakayla, Jakyla and Malachi outside their home. (Calla Kessler/The Palm Beach Post)

Sergio M. Palacio, executive director of the Farmworker Coordinating Council of Palm Beach County, the agency that nominated the Lennon family, says that his and other organizations appreciate the opportunity that Season To Share gives yearly to shed some light on some of our most deserving neighbors.

“We see a great need, where we can make transformational difference (in people’s lives),” he says. “I know we, and the Lennons, are personally grateful. It’s rewarding to see so much goodness in our community.”

Margaret Lennon, who attended the Money Drop event with her husband, a retired migrant farm worker, and Eli and Elijah, the preschool-age grandsons they are raising, confirms that the event was rewarding. As someone who always helped neighbors and community members, she was humbled to be helped as well.

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Leolen Newsome sings a solo during a Circuit Sound Choir performance of “Do You Hear What I Hear?” at the Circuit Sound Money Drop at the Governmental Center in West Palm Beach Monday, December 11, 2017. Money rained down from the upper floors for collection to benefit the Lennon family, who participated in this year’s Season to Share project. (Bruce R. Bennett / The Palm Beach Post)

“We keep an eye on each other in this area, and we always helped, whoever we could, if we had a dollar or a dime,” she says. “So this was so overwhelming for us. We were speechless when they reached out to us….Things have been hard for us.”

The Lennons, both fighting cancer, have had their share of loss, including the 1999 death of two of their young sons on Mother’s Day. Their home is also in need of repair, something that Palacio hopes will be possible after all of the Season to Share donations have come in.

In the meantime, Lennon says, she and her husband are trying to stay positive and rely on their faith and the kindness of the community.

“When things change and you don’t know which way to turn, or what you’re gonna do, the only thing you can hold onto is God, to get some laughter,” she says. “It’s bad. However, you keep it moving, with whatever strength you have left.”

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