The Great War, as they called it then, was over.

So was the Spanish influenza pandemic.

But the 1920s hadn’t begun to roar 100 years ago.

There was a hard recession that began in January 1920 and lasted through July 1921.

And many people in Owensboro were struggling in those days before unemployment benefits, food stamps and other financial aid.

But the Goodfellows Club was marking its fifth Christmas of helping needy children to have presents on Christmas morning.

The fund drive began on Nov. 30 that year with $66.

Newspaper stories from that Christmas season mention a young mother, sick with tuberculosis, who had three children and no way to provide gifts for them.

Neighbors were asking for food for families too proud to ask for themselves.

Many local businesses weren’t giving Christmas bonuses that year.

So, the Goodfellows Club worked hard to raise enough money for all the needs in the community.

They raised $1,045.40 that year — worth about $13,600 today.

But it was enough to provide what was needed in a county of 40,000.

Doors opened at The Plaza — formerly The Grand Theatre — downtown at 8 a.m. on Christmas morning.

There was a movie — a comedy called “The Land of Jazz” — for the children.

And then, it was time for the gifts — candy, nuts, toys, socks, caps, gloves.

The Owensboro Fire Department had collected 200 pounds of candy to distribute.

A century has passed and the Goodfellows are still active at Christmas.

The coronavirus pandemic has prevented a Christmas party this year.

But children will still receive presents in a drive-through event at the Sportscenter on Saturday.

The Goodfellows Club doesn’t just operate at Christmas.

In 1921, it began buying underwear for needy children.

Nine years later, shoes were added.

In 1980, Goodfellows began providing coats, jackets and sweaters.

Hats, jeans and shirts were added in 1981.

And in 1985, emergency dental care was added to the program.

Every dollar that is raised by Goodfellows goes to assist children in need.

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.goodfellowsclubof

Another link to donate online is

Or, text RollCall to 41444.

Because of Covid-19, in-person donations at the Messenger-Inquirer are currently unavailable.

Goodfellows Roll Call, Dec. 14Previously reported$49,762.66

In honor and in memory of Meara Lee Barker and Harold and all their children by Lelan Hancock, Sr. and sisters$200

In memory of Ola Mae and Jack Calhoun by Jackie and Tom Maddox$100

Jeff S. and Betty K. Taylor$100


To honor a good neighbor, Rose Ayers$25

In honor of the Randall and Margaret Mills family by Marilyn Mills$25

Thank yous$3

Total as of Dec. 14$50,315.66

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