Goodfellow Fund holiday charity trying to help 8,000 families

Posted Sunday, Nov. 03, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
How to help For information about the Goodfellow Fund or to volunteer, call 817-289-3871 or e-mail • Credit card donations are accepted at the Goodfellow Fund's website, Checks may be mailed to Goodfellows, Box 1870, Fort Worth, TX 76101. Contributors’ names will be published unless anonymity is requested.

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It takes about $1 million and a small army of volunteers — people of all ages — to complete the Goodfellow Fund’s annual Christmas charity for underprivileged children in Tarrant County.

But although organizers acknowledge having a few anxious moments in the process, they also have a century-old track record of success.

The 101-year-old charity, founded in 1912 at the Star-Telegram, is on pace this year to serve an estimated 20,000 schoolchildren from 8,000 needy families. The effort got underway last month; it’s scheduled to wrap up Dec. 13.

“We’re definitely at a quick pace,” said Lauren Neisler, a program manager at Catholic Charities of Fort Worth, which helps administer the fund. “The volunteers are doing an amazing job, and we’re very thankful for them.”

But just like every year, organizers continue to recruit much-needed volunteers who interview parents and guardians and process their applications.

Adults who apply to the charity are interviewed in person. If they satisfy the requirements, they leave the interview with a $50 Penney's gift card for each eligible child to buy clothes and shoes.

All these efforts, however, can’t happen without donations, which typically accelerate in November, said Richard Greene, the fund’s executive director.

“We set a goal of $1 million, predicated on past donation history,” Greene said. “But I always get sweaty palms and anxiety this time of year. We’ve been a little short in recent years, although we’ve come close.”

The charity relies on longtime support from groups like the Exchange Club, which historically makes a “six-figure” donation to the effort, Greene said.

But, he noted, even schoolchildren get involved, like the students from Arlington schools, with Bailey Junior High School leading the way with about $15,000 each year.

“We also got children 10 to 12 years of age picking up cans on the sides of road, getting the money and donating it,” Greene said. “This teaches them at a young age to give by helping kids who might live just around the corner.”

Bill Miller, 817-390-7684 Twitter: @Bill_MillerST

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