The Halloween decorations have been packed away, which means we’re zooming toward the holiday season.
That also means that for the 104th season, the Star-Telegram’s annual Goodfellows program is underway.
Thousands of applications have been submitted for the gift cards that go to schoolchildren, and volunteers are interviewing adult applicants to determine eligibility.
Applicants must have a short in-person interview with a volunteer. Eligibility is based on the number of the family’s children in school, income and other factors. Those approved get a $50 J.C. Penney gift card per child for clothes and shoes.
“We’re not about candy and nuts,” said Richard Greene, the program’s executive director. “We’re about filling basic needs.”
The program cannot contact applicants who are not accepted. If a family isn’t contacted, they either were not qualified or the program has reached its limit, Greene said.
“New donors need to know that we interview every family to see that their dollars go to the right family,” he said.
Lauren Butschek-Neisler, program manager for Catholic Charities, which organizes Goodfellows for the Star-Telegram, said more volunteers are needed to process the applications.
Volunteers must be 18 and pass a background check. They are asked to work a few hours a week, and schedules are flexible. Work sites are in Fort Worth and Arlington.
Donations are running slightly behind last year, Greene said. The Goodfellow Fund board decided to cut back the number of children served to about 18,000, down from more than 19,500 last year.
The Goodfellow Fund has raised money for children annually since 1912.
“Every newspaper is part of its community,” Greene said. “I don’t know of anything that speaks louder and stronger to that commitment than the legacy of this fund.”
Can you volunteer?
An application and more information are available at the Catholic Charities website, catholiccharitiesfortworth.org. Or call 682-251-1024 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
How to contribute
Send a donation to Goodfellows, P.O. Box 1870, Fort Worth, TX 76101. Credit card donations are accepted at a secure website, goodfellowfund.org. Contributors’ names will be published in the newspaper unless anonymity is requested.