Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

January 24, 2013

Fletcher: Our donors are the true ‘Goodfellows’

Thanks to all who contributed to the annual fundraiser

By Mike Fletcher
Tribune columnist

— Not having children of my own is one of the reasons I began volunteering for Goodfellows more than 10 years ago.

I’ve had stepchildren in the past and always cherished seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces as they tore into their Christmas presents.

So when I realized there were kids out there who were not having that kind of Christmas experience, I had to get involved with Goodfellows.

Seeing the happy and relieved faces of parents as they shop each year as part of the organization is priceless.

Started by Kokomo Tribune employees in 1911 and made up of volunteers, Goodfellows spends more than $100,000 annually on clothing for needy children, with the majority of donations coming from WWKI’s We Care program and individual donations.

With that in mind, I want to send a special thanks to all the people who donated this year to this Christmas-oriented fundraiser.

Money raised from donations to the Tribune from November to January totaled $10,622.68.

With the way the economy has been going, that just illustrates the generosity of our community. No matter how bad it gets, people still care and continue to donate.

Along with the $105,000 donated from We Care, Goodfellows has more than $115,000 to go toward shopping for 2013 recipients.

Thanks to all the regular donors, new donors and all the volunteers who make this fundraiser what it is today.

As I’ve reported before, Tribune employees started the fundraiser in 1911 to help make Christmas a little better for the less fortunate.

And over the years, that gift-giving tradition has grown, thanks to people like Goodfellows director and Center Township Trustee Jean Lushin, all the board members and volunteers.

We helped more than 1,500 kids this year, thanks to all the people who donated to We Care and folks like Gordon B. Riley, owner of Specialty Tool & Die, who donated $1,500; an anonymous donation of $1,000 in memory of the late L. Owen Bolinger; and to all of the regular donors who sent monetary gifts for the program to the Kokomo Tribune.

In addition, I want to thank Ned’s Corner Pub, Meijer, Martino’s, Rite Quality and Ann Wiles for donating lunches for the volunteers during the registration process, and thanks to Meijer for once again allowing us to shop in the store.

As a reminder for those in need, we will be taking applications for this year’s shopping in November. Mark it on your calender.

Mike Fletcher covers police and courts for the Kokomo Tribune. Contact him at mike.fletcher@kokomotribune.com.