The sum of $2,163 may not seem like much when you look at a Christmas campaign, but put it in perspective:
It's money that can buy 180 fleece blankets for nursing home residents, 98 Christmas hams or help 210 families with household needs or groceries.
That's how The Pantagraph Goodfellow Fund looks at each dollar donated to its annual holiday campaign. This year, about 530 donors shared $52,366 in donations as of Dec. 31, which allowed the fund to touch almost 2,000 lives in Central Illinois.
The amount fell a bit short of last year's recent record $55,121, but still was the second largest amount raised since 2012, when Goodfellow received $50,783.41. The money purchases blankets, hams, fruit baskets, household items and gift cards.
The fund, which just completed its 90th year, is a nonprofit organization run by Pantagraph employees who volunteer their time and talents to help seniors and low-income families. Every dime, except for stationery, postage and bookkeeping costs, is used to help recipients.
And that $2,163? That's how much this year's donations exceeded money received in 2015.
This year, residents on the receiving end included folks at 16 nursing homes; 80 Twin City families; 26 residents of Mayor's Manor, a Bloomington transitional facility for the formerly homeless; 24 Peace Meal recipients and 60 children at the Bloomington-Normal Boys and Girls Club.
Also getting gifts were dozens of people staying at The Salvation Army Safe Harbor on Christmas Eve. The Fund later provided an extra 60 blankets to Safe Harbor's warming center when the weather turned bitterly cold two weeks ago.
The fund served 14 families on a waiting list, providing them with a gift card for groceries.
Names of people who could use help were provided by local agencies: Heartland Head Start; Livingston County Housing Authority; Mid Central Community Action; Children's Advocacy Center; PATH; Peace Meals; St. Mary’s Church; The Salvation Army and Western Avenue Community Center.
Key to the program's success is its work with local businesses, including CM Promotions, Schnucks, Casey's Garden Shop, Meijer, Jewel-Osco and The Copy Shop.
Goodfellow grew out of the generosity of a reporter's heart in the late 1920s (he delivered firewood to a poor family on Christmas Eve). As it enters its 91st year, the fund will continue a circle of giving that remains as strong as when the program began.
On behalf of the fund, its recipients and partners, we offer our heartfelt thanks.