Jessica and Chris Osborne are no strangers to the Chatham Goodfellows.
For years of dedication, the couple was named Mr. and Mrs. Goodfellow on the weekend.
Jessica was first introduced to the organization whose motto is “No Child Without a Christmas,” at a young age, helping her grandmother, Mary Williston, organize and pack toys for the organization.
Back then, Goodfellows officials said Jessica was nicknamed, “Gopher Legs,” going for this and going for that during toy packing. She would look among the toys for a teddy bear and other gifts to complete a toy basket.
Packing toys was an annual event for Mrs. Goodfellow, and when she had her own family, her three-year-old son became “Gopher Legs.”
Now her son is 21, and he remains involved, as does her adult daughter.
Jessica is also a regular element of the Goodfellows annual Porch Light night, as the effort was long directed by her late grandfather, Phil Williston.
In fact, she became so efficient she now organizes multiple canvas teams each year, Goodfellows officials said.
During the last few years, as a member of the Chatham Goodfellows board, Mrs. Goodfellow organized the food, setting up the large food box line and supervising the packing.
Each year, Jessica takes several days off work to complete this task to ensure co-ordination of volunteers for packing and delivering, packing logistics, and often the most significant challenge during the day of delivery of organizing the delivery routes.
“Not many people use their valuable time off for volunteering for a community project, but Mrs. Goodfellow loves volunteering; it is expected in the Williston family,” said XXXX XXXX in a media release.
Mrs. Goodfellow can be found every year at food packing with her reindeer antlers on, and a huge smile.
This year Chatham Goodfellows also chose a Mr. Goodfellow, Jessica’s husband, Chris.
They’ve been married for 22 years, and marrying a Williston means marrying into the Goodfellows way. As a result, Chris has been volunteering beside his wife for the past 22 years, and even prior to their marriage.
Mr. Goodfellow leads a team on Porch Light night; he organizes the cash collected, as well as the groceries and toys. Then he loads the food and toys on trucks and then unloads the trucks at the food and toy storage.
Chris can also be found standing in the cold and often in the snow on street corners during Street Sales.
A few days after street sales, Mr. Goodfellow can be found packing and delivering toys.
Described by Goodfellow officials as gentle but strong, Chris assists his wife organizing food packing and deliveries.
On the day before food packing, Mr. Goodfellow assists setting up the food packing lines as well as laying out non-perishable food.
At 5 a.m. on the day of food packing, he unloads perishable food deliveries, frozen turkeys, potatoes, milk, cookies and fruit.
On top of all that, officials said he follows all the directions given by Mrs. Goodfellow.
Mrs. and Mr. Goodfellow introduced a fourth generation of the extended Williston family to Chatham Goodfellows, and now the fourth generation has introduced a fifth generation of the extended Williston family to Chatham Goodfellows.
The Chatham Goodfellows’ President’s Award, Life Time Achievement Award and certificates of appreciation were not awarded this year.
Key Goodfellow info for 2020
- Chatham Goodfellows’ new location is 715 Richmond Str. (the former National Grocers Cash and Carry entrance).
- For 2020 Chatham Goodfellows will provide toys, hygiene packs and boot and shoe vouchers for children up to and including age 15.
- This year, applicants who reside in the former Townships of Dover, Chatham, Harwich, as well as the former City of Chatham can apply online by going to chathamgoodfellows.ca.
- Food and toy baskets can be picked up during the week of Dec. 14. For those unable to pick up their food and toy baskets, deliveries will occur as in years past. A specific schedule will be published in the near future.