Thanksgiving is more than a time for giving thanks and dining with friends and family.

It also marks the start of the 104th annual Goodfellows Club fund drive to help the disadvantaged children of the community have a merry Christmas and to help them with their needs throughout the new year.

It all began in December 1916 when Lawrence W. Hager, whose family owned the afternoon newspaper, the Owensboro Inquirer, set out to write a story about a Christmas party for needy children.

An organization called the Charity Girls had sponsored Christmas parties for children in Owensboro since 1911.

It would be a feel-good story.

But Hager discovered that the organization was disbanding because the members were settling into marriages and raising families.

Hager, who was later editor and publisher of the combined Messenger-Inquirer, decided not to write a story about the end of Christmas parties for poor children.

Instead, he decided to start his own.

Christmas was for children, he said.

And no child should be for

see fund/page b6

gotten at Christmas.

The Goodfellows Club was born that day.

That first year, Owensboroans gave $524.50 to provide a party for 1,200 children.

In addition to the toys, that money provided for 1,000 pairs of socks and $150 worth of food.

But expenses have grown through the years.

Barry Carden, this year's Goodfellows president, said the goal this year is $162,000.

That's less than the $174,379 raised last year.

But Carden said that included a lot of one-time memorial gifts.

So far this year, the club has spent nearly $116,000 on children.

"The majority of our annual spending is for clothing needs," Carden said. "In addition to clothing we provide dental care and emergency/disaster assistance."

But the focus this time of year is on the Dec. 21 Christmas party for 800 to 900 children at the Sportscenter.

Most of us don't see kids sent to school in worn-out, inappropriate clothing.

Or children suffering from toothaches because of a lack of proper dental care.

Or children wearing shoes that don't fit but without money at home to replace them.

But they're there and the Goodfellows Club is still there for them.

People often ask who are the Goodfellows.

They are people who are concerned that even a single child may be going without basic necessities in Owensboro-Daviess County.

They are the people who give what they can to see that that doesn't happen.

The Goodfellows Club has evolved through the years.

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.

Competition for benefit dollars is keener than ever now.

But those who wonder how the money is really spent can know that every cent of their money is used for the children.

There are no paid workers or officers in the Goodfellows Club.

Lawrence W. Hager died on Christmas Day 1982.

Until then, he had only missed one of the traditional Christmas parties -- during World War I when he was serving in the U.S. Army.

It would have been his dream that the Goodfellows Club would no longer be needed in 2019.

But it is.

And you can help.

Contributions to the Goodfellows Club can be mailed to: Goodfellows Club, Messenger-Inquirer, Box 1480, Owensboro, KY 42302.

Donations can also be dropped off at the newspaper office at 1401 Frederica Street or made online at goodfellowsclubofowensboro.org/contribute.

The money reported below wraps up the 2018 campaign.

Goodfellows Roll Call, Nov. 28, 2019

Previously reported … $142,000.42

In memory of Alexander Stewart

Hager by Bruce and Lia Hager … $10,000

B.J. Killian Foundation … $7,500

Sazerac Company … $2,500

In loving memory of Alex Hager by the

Sally Hager Wood Family … $2,500

Women's Guild … $2,000

OPS students … $900

In memory of Alexander Stewart Hager

by Josh Niehaus … $500

In memory of Alexander Stewart Hager

by the Saliba family, Jalile, Badih, and

Kristi, and Marwan and Maurice … $500

In memory of Alexander Stewart Hagar

by Opus Inspection … $500

Williams match for Joseph Triplett … $500

In memory of Alex Hager by the

PLFO … $500

Marathon Petroleum matching gift … $478

OMS-NJHS … $365.82

OMU Soup Day for Kids … $280

In memory of Alexander Stewart Hager

by Mark Griffey … $250

In memory of Alexander Stewart Hager

by Lawrence Hager … $250

Anonymous … $250

In memory of Alex Hager by Joseph

Battista … $250

In memory of Robert D. Gillette, Jr. by

Jack Gillette … $250

In memory of Alexander Stewart Hager

love, Lisa and Kristen … $200

Anonymous … $200

Girls Inc. … $200

In memory of Alexander S. Hager by

the Speciale family … $200

Boardwalk Pipelines matching grant

added to 2018 Estes Elementary No

Shave November … $100

In memory of Alexander Stewart Hager

by Sue Howard … $100

Allen Holbrook … $100

In memory of our good friend and

client, Bob Gillette by Debbi Jenkins,

Gail Tway, and Dan Clifton at Hilliard

Lyons Trust Company LLC… $100

In memory of Alexander Stewart Hager

by Abbe Augenstein … $100

In memory of Alexander Stewart Hager

by Hope Boyd … $100

In memory of Alexander Stewart Hager

by Scott and Kathy Hornaday … $100

In memory of Stewart Hager by the

Tues/Wed Bridge Club … $100

In memory of Alexander Stewart Hager

by I/M Solutions Forum … $100

In memory of Alex Hager by Bruce

Bates … $100

In memory of Alexander Stewart Hager

by Lisa LaBine … $100

In memory of Alexander Stewart Hager

by Jackie Stogsdill … $100

In memory of Alexander Stewart Hager

by Brett Davis … $100

In memory of Bob Gillette by Sally

and Malcolm Bryant… $100

In memory of Alex Hager by Sally

and Malcolm Bryant … $100

In memory of Alexander Stewart Hager

by Nancy Lovett … $100

In memory of Alex; we at Parsons have

always admired the Hagers' dedication

to family. Arms around you at this time

of such a heartbreaking loss … $100

In memory of Alexander Stewart Hager,

Our hearts are broken, Ted, Sid,

August, Erich, and Tony Neal … $100

In memory of Alexander Stewart Hager

by Robert Schumaker … $100

In memory of Alexander Stewart Hager

by Jacie Sheron … $100

In memory of Alexander Stewart Hager

by Vicki Stogsdill … $100

In memory of Alexander Stewart Hager

by Geoffrey Yerem … $100

In memory of Alex Stewart Hager by

Carol Moore … $75

In memory of Alexander Stewart Hager

by Jennifer Sandifer … $75

In memory of Alexander Stewart Hager

by David Boeyink … $50

In memory of Alexander Stewart Hager

by Sy and Brenda Clark … $50

In memory of Alexander Stewart Hager

by Way of Knoxville … $50

In memory of Alexander Stewart Hager

by Allen Holbrook and Forrest Roberts…$50

In memory of Alexander Stewart Hager

by Julie Fulcher … $50

In memory of Alexander Stewart Hager

by Tze Chien and Morton Holbrook … $50

In memory of Alexander Stewart Hager

by Samyag Jubran … $50

In memory of Alexander Stewart Hager

by Jacque Kelly … $50

In memory of Alexander Stewart Hager

by Jim Valerio … $50

In memory of Alexander Stewart Hager

by Jim Yager ,… $50

In memory of Hartman Taylor by

David and Sara Hemmingway … $50

In memory of Alexander Stewart Hager

by Mike Fiorella … $50

In memory of Alexander Stewart Hager

by Patricia Lees … $50

In memory of Alexander Stewart Hager

by the Episcopal School of Knoxville,

Inc. … $50

In memory of Alexander Stewart Hager

by Joanne Berry … $50

In memory of Alexander Stewart Hager

by Miriam Roff … $50

In memory of Alexander Stewart Hager

by Vanessa Hager Roff … $50

In memory of Alex Hager by Ed and

Christie Irvin … $30

In memory of Alexander Stewart Hager

by Alexander & Company … $25

In memory of Alexander Stewart Hager

by Suzette and Nathan Nunley … $25

Anonymous … $25

Total as of Nov. 28, 2019 … $174,379.24

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