As the story goes, a desperately poor family contacted The Daily Pantagraph newsroom on Christmas Eve 1927. A reporter took their request in hand, delivering firewood to keep the family warm.
"He’s a good fellow," the man of the house exclaimed.
And thus was born the beginning of the The Pantagraph Goodfellow Fund, organized and staffed by Pantagraph employees and funded by our readers' tax-deductible donations.
Celebrating its 90th year in 2017, the program provides gifts and assistance to help make the holidays a bit brighter for thousands of Central Illinois residents.
Last year, Goodfellow provided fleece blankets to almost 2,000 seniors in Pantagraph-area nursing homes and those seeking help from homeless shelters; a large tote of household items, a blanket and grocery gift cards to 35 home-bound seniors; grocery gift cards to a dozen families in outlying counties; and a ham, fruit and treat basket, blanket and grocery gift card to nearly 80 families referred by local social service agencies.
We will do the same this year, all the while carrying forth the past good works of hundreds of Pantagraph employees — and thousands of donors — who have lent a hand over the past 90 years.
It's all possible by way of donations from people and businesses that write check after check, year after year — sometimes for $5, sometimes for $3,500 — to help make the holidays brighter for people whose everyday lives can be anything but.
Our recipients also sometimes enclose a dollar or two — whatever they can afford — with a thank-you note and a wish to pay forward the community's generosity.
Goodfellow volunteers can't do all the work alone. Along with our donors, nursing homes make sure their residents receive the blankets and agencies provide the names of families in need.
The fund patronizes Twin City businesses to purchase the blankets, food, household goods and gift cards.
The Goodfellow Fund focuses on providing basic needs to families who otherwise might be overlooked, or who will receive other types of help (like gifts for their children) from the many other local holiday programs.
Last week, we started publishing the names of donors who already have given to Goodfellow this year. We hope to see your name on an upcoming list.
To donate, mail a check to Goodfellow Fund, P.O. Box 1800, Bloomington, IL 61702-1800.
As always, we offer our deepest thanks for any help you can give.