As the story goes, a desperately poor family contacted The 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 Goodfellow Fund, which each year provides gifts and assistance to thousands of Central Illinois residents through the generosity of donors who hope to make the holiday a bit brighter for deserving families.
In 2012, the fund provided fleece blankets to almost 3,000 seniors in Pantagraph-area nursing homes, to fire victims and to clients of social service agencies; delivered a large tote of household items and grocery store gift cards to 25 homebound seniors; gave grocery store gift cards to a dozen families in outlying counties; and handed out a ham, a fruit basket, blanket and gift card to almost 80 families referred by local social service agencies.
We will do the same this year, all while carrying forth the past good works of hundreds of Pantagraph employees — and thousands of donors — who have lent a hand for the last 86 years.
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All of it comes 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 are anything but.
Along with our generous donors, nursing homes make sure their residents receive their gifts; area social service agencies provide the names of families in need; a number of local businesses provide the blankets, food, household goods and gift cards, often providing the items at cost.
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 other local holiday programs.
On Thursday, 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. And, thank you.