Despite snow, ice and frigid temperatures, the Owensboro-Daviess County community showed up in force Tuesday to support the annual Goodfellows Club Soup Day for Kids.

The Goodfellows Club is a 103-year-old organization that provides clothing, shoes, coats, and emergency dental and medical care -- year-round -- along with a December Christmas party for children in need. And 100% of the money raised each year goes to help children; there are no administrative fees.

The community soup day at the Settle Memorial Church Renewal and Outreach Center, at 201 E Fourth St., raises between $5,000 to $8,000 annually that goes toward purchasing school clothing, coats, underwear, shoes and more for the area's disadvantaged youth, said Mary Beth Hurley, a Goodfellows board member.

"Community members pay $10, and all of those proceeds go toward our school program and Christmas party," she said. "I worked as a nurse in the schools for 23 years. During that time, I saw kids that didn't have clothes that fit or adequate clothing for the season. This is a wonderful tradition in our community because it provides students with what they need, puts a smile on their face and boosts their confidence. We just thank Goodfellows every year."

This year, more than 30 restaurants, bakeries and pizza shops including Briarpatch, AZZIP Pizza, Rolling Pin Pastry Shop, Niko's Bakery & Cafe, Gene's Health Food, Moonlite Bar-B-Q Inn, Ritzy’s and others, donated food.

Without the support of community partners, the event wouldn't be nearly as successful, said Sally Wood, also a Goodfellows' board member.

"From a community standpoint, it is important to be able to raise money for the kids in need in our school systems," she said. "We are so ... appreciative of all of the restaurants that donate to this community-wide soup day. (Goodfellows) is over 103 years old and I think what is special is that we have an all-volunteer board and every penny raised in the goes straight back to community children in need."

Courtney Calhoun, a board member and a recipient of the Goodfellows' work in her youth, was there as a volunteer, something she has wanted to do since her childhood, she said.

"It is a definite part of the community because so many kids go without," she said. "Goodfellows is there to support them in such a major way. The best part is seeing the kids light up. We appreciate the community support. So many have benefited. People don’t realize how much Goodfellows does, it is year-round, not just the party or fundraisers. ... It helps a lot more than people realize."

The soup day is the kickoff to a campaign that collects donations from private citizens, businesses, churches and area schools. Donations can be made through the Goodfellows' website — goodfellowsclubofowensboro.org.

To aid the charity drive, the Messenger-Inquirer also publishes a daily roll call of donations as well as stories about those in the community who come up with creative fundraisers to support the campaign and about those who have benefitted from it. The publication of those stories and the roll call will begin on Thanksgiving Day.

Jacob Mulliken, 270-228-2837, jmulliken@messenger-inquirer.com

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