"It seems like we have more kids than ever in need," committee member Joan Spooner said this week. "In many cases, we seem to have families coming in from warmer-climate areas, and their children may have no coats or hats and sometimes not even socks. The farm crisis is also putting a damper on things this year. We are seeing people who have been donors to local charitable programs in the past who are going to need help themselves this year."
Since it was founded by former Pilot-Tribune Publisher W.C. Jarnagin in the depression years of the late 1920s, Mr. Goodfellow has answered the need for thousands and thousands of children.
The program includes a network of teachers across the county who identify children in their classrooms who have no usable coats or other outerwear. If the family is needy, and the parents agree to be in the Goodfellow program, a Mr. Goodfellow volunteer then takes the child into area stores to pick out items themselves.
"In some cases, it is the first new coat or pair of boots that the child has even had to call their own, and the way their face lights up makes the program all worthwhile," said committee member Dana Larsen.
"Simple things mean so much to a person, just the fact that someone cares," Spooner said. "We had a child from Sioux Central school helped last recently. The teacher just thanked us to death and from the reaction of the family and the child, you would have thought that kid was in heaven. We are just pleased to get the kind of enthusiastic cooperation we do from the teachers and schools."
Read the rest of this article in the 11/02 Pilot Tribune.