While the annual Goodfellows Christmas Party has been canceled this year, the elves in the Goodfellows workshop still fully intend to hand out toys.
On Dec. 19 at the Owensboro Sportscenter, members of the more than 100-year-old organization, along with volunteers, will be handing out gifts to area children as planned, said Bob Clark, Goodfellows president.
“We are really leaning on the Sportscenter in helping us organize, given their experience in running this kind of distribution,” he said. “This year we are expecting 400 kids compared to the 900 to 1,000 that we traditionally have at the party.”
Changes to the club’s traditional fundraising and end of season party weren’t the only changes that the organization had to make this year. Due to the closure of schools, the club also couldn’t spread the word as they have in the past, Clark said.
“This year we had to ask people to physically sign up with their family resource people,” he said. “We are expecting 400 but are prepared for between 50 to 100 that weren’t able to sign up to show up.”
To maintain social distancing and to be able to streamline the gift-giving process, the morning will be split between Owensboro and Daviess County public schools, he said.
“City schools will begin at 9 a.m. and run until 10 a.m.,” Clark said. “There will most likely be spillover so we aren’t beginning to hand out gifts to the county schools until 10:30 a.m. That will run until 11:30 a.m.”
This will be the first time that the club has had to cancel its Christmas party since 1916 and given the COVID climate, they were forced to cut the 2020 budget down to $106,600, compared to last year’s $162,000, in anticipation of taking a 30% hit due to the pandemic.
A silver lining, especially in the face of an expected shortfall in donations this year, is that the club had 300 toys and 500 books in storage, ensuring that every child that comes will have a gift, said Clark.
“This is definitely an opportunity to use those toys we had in storage,” he said. “We have also partnered with Walmart again this year, which we typically do. Each kid will receive one gift, a bag with a toothbrush, toothpaste and things like that as well as a book. Having these toys in reserve has helped us not only cut down on costs but move forward and make sure we can still give out presents.”
Contributions to the Goodfellows Club can be mailed to: Goodfellows Club, Messenger-Inquirer, P.O. Box 1480, Owensboro, KY 42302 or made online at www.goodfellowsclubofowensboro.org/donate. Another link to donate online is https://app.mobilecause.com/form/3ebhXQ?vid=eoq13. Or, text RollCall to 41444.
Because of Covid-19, in-person donations at the Messenger-Inquirer are currently unavailable.
Call, Dec. 7, 2020
In loving memory of parents and siblings, Jean and Donald R. White, Gerry Don White, Jill White, Mickey White, and Juanita Howe White $150
In memory of B.C. and Clara Green by Suzette and Nathan Nunley$100
Jeff and Vicky Hammond$50
In memory of Byron Woodward by Nicole and Quinn Woodward$50
In loving memory of parents, Lillie Mae and William F. Hagan by Darlene and Terry White$50
Total as of Dec. 7, 2020 $28,836