The Goodfellows Club in Houston left an impression on Joseph that stayed with him more than half a century.
“It was in the 1960s,” said the Arlington grandfather who, with his wife, is raising three grandchildren. “It was exciting. Of course, when you’re a kid, it’s nice to get toys.”
That’s why Joseph was comfortable with the Goodfellow concept when he needed help giving Christmas presents to his grandkids — two in middle school, and one in elementary. His daughter abandoned the children a few years ago. It took awhile for Joseph and his wife to win custody, but they eagerly accepted responsibility for all three, including one child who has type I diabetes and a learning disability.
“This is a task God gave us and we’re trying to make it work,” said Joseph, who works in security. “We love our grandkids. We’re hoping things will start working out and getting better.”
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In the years following the ’60s, things got better for Joseph after he moved to Fort Worth. But he remembers as a kid seeing Houston Chronicle employees deliver “large brown bags, mostly toys and maybe some Christmas candies.”
Star-Telegram employees also used to deliver toys — even food and firewood — to underprivileged families’ homes. The help Joseph and his wife got from the Goodfellow Fund this year was $50 J.C. Penney gift cards for each grandchild. But the children reacted the same way he did when he was their age.
“They were excited about the idea of going shopping,” Joseph said. “We got them some shoes, jeans and shirts for school. We had to go ahead and let them start using them, rather than wait for Christmas.”
Be a jolly Goodfellow
Since 1912, the Star-Telegram’s Goodfellow Fund has provided practical gifts for schoolchildren. Join this tradition by sending a contribution to Goodfellows, Box 1870, Fort Worth, TX 76101. Or go online to goodfellowfund.org and make a secure credit-card donation.