Goodfellows season is upon us

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The Chatham Goodfellows have secured a location for the organization of toy collection and distribution for the 69th Goodfellows campaign, the former Monseignor Uyen School. This will be the second year the organization utilizes the former school, despite the fact it has changed ownership since last year. Goodfellows members Barb Smith, Tim Haskell and Kevin Shaw are seen with representatives of the building’s ownership team, Jessica Myers and her children Angelina and Stavros, along with Spencer and Phillip Clarke.

For the 69th year running, Chatham Goodfellows are going to do their utmost to ensure no child is without a Christmas.

The annual campaign, officially launched Oct. 12, will again provide food and toys to children and their families in need.

According to a media release from the group, the aim of the effort is to provide gift baskets to “ensure children in our community who need it most, have a happy, memorable holiday season.”

Last year the non-profit’s No Child Without a Christmas initiative distributed food and gift baskets to more than 1,600 area families, however, the rising cost of groceries will make the 2023 holiday season especially challenging.

“We all know the cost of groceries has increased significantly over the last year,” said Chatham Goodfellows president Craig Williston. “We hope that our generous donors will help us meet the increasing cost of food, as well as the increasing number of people applying for food and toy baskets.”

As in the past, Chatham Goodfellows pride themselves on making sure that the families that need help the most will receive it. Organizers routinely check with other agencies to ensure there are no duplications, allowing the bounty to spread further afield. All food that is not needed for registered families is donated to Outreach for Hunger and other agencies to ensure there is no waste.

The organization is asking people who want to support their cause to drop off toys and food at locations throughout the community. Monetary donations are also very important, as they allow the Goodfellows to purchase key holiday dinner items, such as turkeys, potatoes, carrots, milk and fruit. 

Because it is a registered charity, all cash donations above $20 are eligible for a tax receipt. 

Chatham Goodfellows would like to clarify they are not affiliated with The Gift and do not receive food, toys, or money from that organization. To support the Goodfellows’ No Child Without a Christmas, donations must be made directly to Chatham Goodfellows.

Online applications for those who have applied in previous years begin Nov. 1, with first-time applications commencing Nov. 6 and run on weekdays, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Applications close Dec. 1.

The annual Porchlight Campaign where donors can leave food or toys on their doorstep or make monetary donations in person will take place Dec. 4.

Gift packing runs from Dec. 11-14 at the former Monsignor Uyen Catholic School located at 255 Lark St. in Chatham. Street sales of the Goodfellows newspaper will be held Dec. 15 and 16. Christmas basket deliveries will begin Dec. 18 any time after 5 p.m.

For a full list of donation sites visit www.ChathamGoodfellows.ca.

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