BLOOMINGTON - The Pantagraph Good Fellow Fund campaign is kicking off its 80th year of providing holiday gifts to families in need and seniors during the holiday season.

Providing food continues to be a focus for the Fund. The names of more than 100 McLean County families will be screened and provided to the Pantagraph's Good Fellow Fund through local agencies. Each of the families helped by Good Fellow will receive a fruit basket and ham and up to a $200 gift certificate from local grocery stores that will enable them to buy food for a holiday meal or groceries when extra help might be needed throughout the year.

For Ford, Livingston, Tazewell, Woodford, Logan and DeWitt counties, various social service agencies will provide names of families who need assistance. The program does not serve areas beyond those counties.

Good Fellow will continue to distribute lap blankets to more than 2,000 nursing home residents. A warm fleece blanket was chosen because of its versatility, usefulness and appeal to the widest variety of seniors. To avoid duplication of efforts, the blankets will be delivered to nursing home residents who have not previously received a blanket as well as those entering the homes throughout 2007.

Through the help of the Bloomington-Normal Boys and Girls Club, children in need will have the opportunity to buy gifts for their relatives or caregivers.

Last year, the Good Fellow Fund raised more than $54,000 and organizers hope to accomplish at least that this year.

Beginning this year, the Fund will partner with the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation to continue to provide necessary items for deserving families and individuals throughout areas the Pantagraph serves, said Fund trustee Barry Winterland.

Illinois Prairie Community Foundation, which serves a multi-county area in Central Illinois, brings donors and local needs together and connects people who care with causes that matter.

The Good Fellow Fund program, supported solely by local individuals, businesses, and organizations, serves families and seniors in McLean, Livingston, Ford, Woodford, Logan, Tazewell and DeWitt counties.

Thank you

As a formal thank-you, the Pantagraph will publish names of contributors who wish to be recognized.

Donors may choose to remain anonymous. Lists will be published throughout the Christmas season.

The first donor list appears Dec. 3.

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