The thought of any child in need is heartbreaking, and at this time of year — the “season of giving” — the thought of even one of those children going wanting at Christmas gnaws at the soul.
And yet in our community, there are thousands of youngsters whose families simply can’t afford to provide even the bare necessities of shoes and clothing for their children, much less the toys, trinkets and gadgets so many take for granted.
Because of a fund set up more than 100 years ago, the readers of this newspaper have helped provide a Merry Christmas not only for one child but also for many, many more.
The Star-Telegram Goodfellow Fund, which began in 1912 by handing out turkeys, canned vegetables, toys and loads of wood and coal to about 350 families, will give $50 J.C. Penney gift cards this year to benefit almost 20,000 kids from about 8,000 families in our area.
Contributors to the annual cause have become known as “Goodfellows,” and that they are, whether schoolchildren who raid their piggy banks, civic leaders, widows and widowers donating in the name of a lost loved one, small businesses and corporations or community groups and social clubs. They’re all Goodfellows.
While many people with a long history in North Texas are familiar with the holiday fundraising drive, a lot of newcomers or younger adults in the community have never heard of it, said Richard Greene of Fort Worth, executive director of the Goodfellow fund.
To raise $1 million to address the growing need, Greene said, the fund seeks new donors to complement gifts from longtime contributors.
This year’s campaign includes a social media element, a Goodfellow Fund Facebook page, that details some of the heart-rending requests from families seeking help and some of the special events that will raise money.
Because 80 percent of donations usually come in after Thanksgiving, there’s always the fear that not enough money will be raised to serve all of those approved for assistance.
Make a difference for a bunch of children this year by sending a check to: Star-Telegram Goodfellow Fund, P.O. Box 1870, Fort Worth TX 76101. Or donate online at www.goodfellowfund.org.