HONESDALE — Returning for the third year, the Honesdale Holiday Wish Project aims to help spread some holiday cheer to Wayne County residents.

Beach Lake couple Bob and Shelley Daley have decided to spread a little holiday cheer by giving back to the community they adore.

The Daleys have teamed up with The Wayne Independent to begin the Honesdale Holiday Wish Essay Contest just in time for the holiday season.

Residents of Wayne County are encouraged to enter this contest that sets out to help families or individuals in need.

Applications will be accepted until Nov. 24, 2017 at 11:59 PM EST.

“We will be giving away up to $7,000 this year,” Bob Daley said.

“We really enjoyed it last year and are excited to participate again.”

Up to seven prizes will be awarded, with the value not exceeding $7,000. This is an increase of $2,000 from the original total in 2015.

The decision to increase the amount from previous years was easy to make

“We just want to help more people,” Bob said.

“We are trying to reach as many as we can, Shelley added.

“This is the third year we have done this,” Bob said. “And I think...we've helped out...around 20 people.

“And this year we're doing at least seven, depending on what happens.

“So were pretty excited about it.”

Shelley said reading letters from applicants inspires the couple to try and do more each year.

“We tried to up it as much as we can to try and bring a little jingle into some lives this time of year.”

Spreading holiday cheer to those in need is not a recent passion for the Daleys.

“It's a great way to give back to family, friends and the community,” she said.

Growing up as the child of a single mother, Shelley said the holiday season could be stressful and depressing for her family.

Being able to give back to those in need in such a big way is therapeutic, she said.

With the needs of families so varied, Shelley said “...it's great to be able to fill the gap for people.”

“It's the real reason for the season.”

Bob encouraged those on the fence about writing a letter not to hesitate.

“It can be for you or somebody else,” he said. “Don't be afraid to send it – every request is considered.”

Shelley continued the sentiment, adding “We'd love to have the opportunity to help as many as we can.”

Encouraging the community to give back is another goal the Daleys believe in fostering.

“We want to help everybody out and encourage other people to do the same thing,” Bob explained.

“People are giving in areas all around the country... but this area is just so special,” Shelley said.

“People take such pride in it. It's a simple concept that really pays back in triplicate that anybody can do on a larger scale or a smaller scale.

“If everybody becomes a part of the chain I think that will be the real value.”

Rules and regulations

There is no entry fee to enter the Honesdale Holiday Wish Project Essay Contest.

The contest is open to legal residents of the United States who reside in Wayne County and who are 18 years of age or older at the time of nomination.

The nominator should compose an essay about their holiday wish and why it deserves to be granted.

An individual can nominate themselves, their family or another family in need.

Individuals can enter by mailing the entry materials to: HHWP c/o The Wayne Independent, 220 8th Street, Honesdale, PA 18431.

Entry materials must be received at the Wayne Independent offices by 11:59 p.m. EST on Nov. 24, 2017.

No entry materials will be accepted after this time.

Only one (1) set of Entry Materials on a Nominee will be accepted per Nominator during the Contest Period. Incomplete, illegible or inaccurate entries are void.

The judging of the essays will take place at The Wayne Independent on or around December 4, 2017 and one to seven essays will be chosen by a panel consisting of qualified representatives of the newspaper.

The panel will judge each essay based on the following criteria (weighed equally): compelling and sincere nature of the essay, demonstrated need of the nominee, emotional qualities of the essay and persuasive expression of the essay.

In the event of a tie among the judging panel, the publisher of the publications will make the tie-breaking decision.

On or around December 6, 2017, the winner will be notified by telephone, mail or e-mail in accordance with the contact information provided with the entry materials, and must complete, sign and return an affidavit of eligibility, liability and publicity release in order to be eligible to accept the prize.

The winner will also be featured in future editions of The Wayne Independent and online at www.wayneindependent.com, as well as the publications’ Facebook page.

It can also be hand delivered to the office located at 220 8th Street in Honesdale. The office is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

A complete list of rules and regulations will be available at the office of The Wayne Independent.