The newspaper business is fast-paced, and change is a constant.

The Messenger-Inquirer has also gone through its share of technological and newsgathering revolutions over the years, but one tradition has remained intact — the paper’s longtime support of the Goodfellows Club.

Goodfellows is as much a part of the Messenger-Inquirer as the ink that prints the newspaper. In fact, Goodfellows has its origins with Lawrence W. Hager Sr., who was general manager and a writer with the Owensboro Inquirer.

In 1916, Hager planned to write a story about the St. Nicholas Girls’ annual Christmas party for children in need. But the group wasn’t planning to hold the party that year.

Hager could have written a short story announcing the party’s demise, filed the story and gone on with his life. But the thought of there being children with no Christmas galvanized Hager into action, and he set out to create a new party for kids who otherwise would have nothing during the holiday.

The community responded to Hager’s column calling them to action, and the first of more than a century of Goodfellows Club parties was held. While toys and holiday cheer abounded at the first party, Hager also provided the children with long underwear, to keep them warm during the cold winter days.

Over time, Goodfellows has expanded its mission and is active long past the Christmas party. School family resource center directors regularly reach out to Goodfellows, to help students in need of new school clothes, winter coats, shoes and even emergency dental care. Goodfellows has helped provide for families affected by house fires and tornadoes. When there’s a child in need, Goodfellows is there to help.

But Goodfellows isn’t a wealthy foundation with a large endowment of funds to draw upon each year. Goodfellows is propelled by community donors, who, traditionally, have contributed through soup day events, the annual Messiah performance and the roll call. Without the generosity of the community, Goodfellows would only be a footnote in Owensboro history.

Contributors can be assured that every cent donated to Goodfellows goes directly into helping Owensboro children. If you’ve ever made a donation, of any size, to Goodfellows, you have been a blessing in a child’s life.

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.goodfellows club ofowensboro.org/donate. Another link to donate online is https://app. mobilecause.com/form/3ebhXQ?vid=eoq13. Or, text RollCall to 41444.

Goodfellows Roll Call, Nov. 26, 2021

Thomas Edward Riney … $500

Donald Hansen … $500

In memory of Larry Hager III by the Lawrence Augusta Hager Educational Foundation … $500

Robert Shadwick Jr. Endowment Fund… $353.83

David F. Lindow … $100

Ashley Lile … $40

Total as of November 26, 2021 … $1,993.83

James Mayse, 270-691-7303, jmayse@messenger-inquirer.com, Twitter: @JamesMayse

James Mayse, 270-691-7303, jmayse@messenger-inquirer.com, Twitter: @JamesMayse

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