Goodfellows donors in Pittsburgh area continue fine tradition

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Thousands of Pittsburghers might be feeling a little extra holiday glow this morning, knowing that children across the landscape wear smiles inspired by their generosity.

The 66th Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Goodfellows Fund campaign was a great success and a key part of a regionwide effort that delivered toys to tens of thousands of needy children. Readers' donations bolstered the Marine Corps Toys for Tots program and the Salvation Army Treasures for Children program.

Goodfellows is a Western Pennsylvania holiday tradition older than Light Up Night and the Christmas tree on the corner of the old Horne's department store.

Since 1947, readers have taken time from their busy holiday preparations to make sure that the joy of Christmas is shared with those less fortunate.

The Goodfellows Fund is the start of a supply chain that ends in the eager hands of youngsters who might otherwise go without on this special day. It begins with reader donations, listed in the newspaper every day from early December through today, with a final list and grand total on New Year's Day.

Toys for Tots, also founded in 1947, purchases toys and receives thousands of items donated at toy drives throughout the region, including radio station 96.1 KISS-FM's campaign that delivered 34 busloads of toys to Marine Corps Military Police Company Bravo this month.

Using warehouse space donated by Guardian Storage Solutions, the Marines and dozens of volunteer groups from schools, churches and businesses sorted the toys by age group and gender and then filled orders placed by charities, religious groups, shelters and other agencies.

More than 150 such groups traveled to the warehouse to pick up the toy orders for distribution to needy families. The Marines also held open houses so that families who were not affiliated with an agency could get toys.

The Goodfellows story

We at the Post-Gazette are proud each year to tell the story of the Goodfellows Fund, which traces back to 1894.

That year, Major R.W.A. Simmons happened upon a group of children in a Downtown alley. He asked what they were expecting from Santa that Christmas, and they told him they figured Santa would pass them up, as he had before.

Major Simmons returned to his office, where he and co-worker George L. Bond, then 31 years old, began gathering used toys, fixing them and distributing them to needy children.

That was the start of what would become known as the Toy Mission.

In 1908, Mr. Bond refurbished a sled and gave it to a boy named Joey Sheer. It was the child's only gift that Christmas. The young man never forgot the act of kindness.

By 1935, the mission was serving 18,000 to 20,000 children a year. Churches, clubs, schools and families were invited to donate used and broken toys, and volunteers donated their spare time to fix, repaint and wrap them. Still overseeing it was Mr. Bond, by then in his 70s and white-haired.

Mr. Bond, of Crafton, died in 1939. In January 1941, the Optimist Club of Pittsburgh approached Mr. Bond's widow with its idea to create a memorial to her husband. The president of the Optimists at the time was none other than I.J. "Joey" Sheer, the boy with the sled who had worked his way to success.

On Nov. 19, 1947, the front page of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette carried an announcement about the creation of the Post-Gazette Good Fellows:

"Even Christmas should have a 'new look' this season.

"Optimist Club members, sponsors of the Bond Memorial Toy Mission, are going to have the help of Post-Gazette Good Fellows in removing that look of disappointment from the faces of Allegheny County's underprivileged children Christmas Day."

Depots were set up to collect donated toys, and cash contributions were solicited to pay for toys for needy kids, with the promise that every contributor's name would be published in the newspaper -- a tradition that continues to this day.

Nov. 25, 1965, saw the debut of a cartoon drawn by Post-Gazette editorial cartoonist Cy Hungerford of a tearful child holding an empty "stocking," actually a tattered sock. It became the symbol of the Goodfellows Fund.

Mr. Sheer, who died in 1987 at age 90, continued as the driving force behind the Goodfellows campaign until he was 85, helping to buy toys and arranging to have volunteers distribute them. The Post-Gazette's partnership with Toys for Tots began in 1999.

With the region's economy still not fully recovered, Post-Gazette readers nonetheless came through again this year.

Thank you to all, and Merry Christmas!

Total donations: $21,952.50 Grand total: $177,884.13

Post-Gazette editorial employees $4,072

Pittsburgh Stock & Bond Association $3,000

International Union of Operating Engineers Local 95 $1,400

In memory of Ian Cohen $1,001

Anonymous $500

Corinne Lightbown $400

Cindy & Andy Russell $250

Diane Knox Petronko $250

In loving memory of our son, Kevin D. Rayman $200

Arianna and Addison $200

Caroline and Katie Diegelman $200

Deanna & Steve Lehrman $200

Anonymous $200

The 7 Cloherty sisters $200

James & Connie Stover $200

"Omi & Bubble in honor of Caroline" $200

Bernard O'Connor in memory of John & Maggie O'Connor $200

Tim, Carrie & Patrick Stanny $200

John S Hyrb $200

Department of Psychology, University of Pittsburgh $175

Anonymous $150

Joan T. Lawrence $150

Dave & Bea $150

In memory of Sylvia Barnett, Ellsworth & Ethel Denny, Jeff McKinney, 20 Sandy Hook angels & 6 others $101

In memory of William P. Lengerer Jr. $100

Chris & Tom Brockmeyer $100

Wm. C. King $100

Pete Srini $100

In memory of Dorothy Roch $100

Benjamin & Henry Bradley $100

Jake & Jesse Kallam $100

Kathleen Sundin $100

In memory of the Sandy Hook school children $100

Greg Waldo $100

In memory of Daniel J Fitzpatrick, From Bonnie Fitzpatrick- Kaliszewski $100

Emma, Johnny & Abby $100

Mary Sue Fisher $100

George Savarino $100

Tom Liverani $100

Anonymous $100

In memory of Mark $100

Roberto DeFazio $100

Virginia Wellman $100

Colella family $100

Louis, Michele and Angela Mackey $100

William Rogers $100

Jim & Barb Bucci $100

Henry family $100

Anonymous $100

The Donald Thomas family $100

Joe and Sharon Drnach $100

In memory of Lorraine Pokorny $100

In memory of Kenneth Doak $96

Tom & Ellen Golonski $75

In honor of my grandchildren: Anthony, Bennett, Brooke $75

Chris & Vicki Woods $75

Leland E. & Linda M. Floyd $75

Anonymous $50

Chiodo, Bridgeville $50

David & Michele Bartko $50

R.C. $50

Valent family $50

Jim & Beth Webster $50

In memory of T.J. Gatti $50

Charlie Brown's Airport Parking $50

Mark & Ann South $50

Mike & Hope McCague $50

Dr. & Mrs. Russell Sacco $50

In memory of Sweet Maddox from Rhoads family $50

Sharon L. Cont i$50

In memory of Felix J. DeSantis $50

Big Grandma and Little Grandma $50

In memory of Joey Sabol $50

In memory of Alice Behr $50

Anonymous $50

In memory of Lance, Mom & Dad $50

Mr. & Mrs. Mark Wilson $50

Nancy Fooks $50

Sue Carretta $50

David G. Walsh $50

In memory of Mark and Betty Trussell $50

Jan Turocy $50

Dr. Jack Abarbanel $50

Ms. Norma S. Artman $50

Anonymous $50

A. Zarenko $50

In memory of Bianco/Tarcak Families $50

In memory of John Brenise r$50

Aaron and Katy Kendeall $50

In honor of Bill and Charlotte Clarke from John and Denise, Matthew and Jonathon Chester $50

Charlie Mo $50

Jack Ryan $50

Connie Monaghan $50

Brian Elinich $50

Anonymous $50

In memory of Patrick Holsinger $50

Mr. & Mrs. Thomas R. Sieg $50

Madeline Bradica $50

In memory of Bill Baum $50

Daryl and Barbara Drozd $45

Two Cool Cats Nick and Pap $40

Studio Ochre $40

In memory of Jack Roche $40

In loving memory of Gail Kolesar $35

Ruth & Jerry Beatty $30

Steve & Kathy Hast $30

In memory of Nelson & Catherine McMullen & John & Anna O'Farrell families $30

Karen Latona $30

Anonymous $30

Joseph Saffron & Merceda Saffron $30

Cal & Gina $30

Marie Olson $30

Marge M. Norbutt $30

Anonymous $30

Paul and Cathy $26

In memory of David J. Soltesz $25

In memory of William Stanley Harper $25

L. Herrmann $25

David & Ellie Tourney & family $25

Helen & Dennis Snedden in honor of P.O. of #150 $25

Anonymous $25

The Sandora - in loving memory of Leo $25

In memory of Jeffrey Drylie $25

Rich Piccinini $25

In loving memory of Lawrence "Me Lai" Ramsey $25

Brian Carroll $25

Anonymous $25

In memory of the deceased children of Newtown, CT $25

Timothy M. Thompson $25

Anonymous $25

Joe B. $25

Jim & Patty Scheide $25

In loving memory of Joseph Kostelic, love, wife Eve $25

John Csajka $25

In honor of Anthony & Robert Coll $25

Barbara A. Peace $25

Tigger Moore $25

Larry Moy $25

Anonymous $25

Stephanie Difiore $25

Mik & Kelly Liba $25

Alexander & Nina Dow $25

Mr. & Mrs. James E. Stokes $25

Eugene C. Lodovico $25

Thomas & Ruby Lee $25

Gary & Marcy Froelich $25

In memory of Donna Davis $25

Mary & Tom Haley $25

Patty Ornot $25

Fran Stidd $25

Walt & Susan Winowich $25

Anonymous $25

In memory of Izzy and Betty Lampenfeld $25

Anonymous $25

Lois Finke l$25

Dr. Nancy Z. Nelson $25

Pamela J. Stanich $25

The Muellers $25

Evelyn Vidmar $25

In memory of Marge DeCort $25

Mr. & Mrs. Louis Mirth $25

Erik & Alex $25

Pat Griffith $25

In memory of Antoinette Kocak $25

William R. Costello $25

Anonymous $25

Sandra Sobesky $25

In memory of Jim and Sally $25

Baux family $25

Debbi Casini Klein $25

Jon Spiegel Ph.D. $25

In memory of Eileen Arnold Swan $25

In loving memory of Anthony "Slo-Mo" Jackson $25

John A. Sacco $25

Judy Kennedy $25

Adam, Caroline, Sam, Frankie, Zoe $25

The Guzzi family in honor of our beloved Andrew $25

In memory of my friend Bob Macherosky $25

M. Milburn $25

In memory of Morgan & Kathryn Newhouse $25

Anonymous $25

Robert Barker $20

Mark & Valarie Drutch $20

Mary Ellen Hart $20

In loving memory of Mary Stanec $20

John & Barb Gieder $20

Anonymous $20

Mrs. Linda Skidmore $20

In loving memory of Jarrett D. Barlow, love Jarrett J. Becoate $20

Joann Dalmolin $20

Reo Nason family $20

Fern Arrigo $20

Phyllis McCoy $20

In memory of children of Sandy Hook $20

Anonymou s$20

Stan & Susan Michalski $20Elizabeth Wellons $20

Anonymous $20

Robert J. DeGrazia $20

Walt & Joanne Kalyn $20

Anonymous $20

In memory of CT children $20

In memory of Charlotte Bacon $20

In memory of Patricia DeMatty Lepore $20

In memory of Alfonso Ranallo $20

M. Slagle $15

Anonymous $12.50

Teddy Choi & Yu Jian Ying $10

Anonymous $10

James L. Westman $10

Anonymous $10

In memory of James (Dimes) & Jimmy Werderber $10

Judi B. $10

R. Mehaffey $10

Nancy M. Lindsay $10

Judy & John Armstrong $10

Anonymous $10

Debbie Reinheimer $10

In memory of my beloved son, Robert Levandoski, from Mother $10

Marcia Scott $10

In memory of Pap Pap from Hunter $10

M. J. Stewart $10

J. Goodall $10

E. Blanche Jones $5

Anonymous $5

Anonymous $3

Anonymous $1

toys and books is a poster of the food pyramid.

"For some of these kids, it's the best meal of the day," said Sandy Delancey, an administrative assistant at Robin's Nest. "Some kids come in and you can just tell they haven't eaten or had a good meal. And it's not that the parents don't care. It's just hard when they're trying to go to school or working or running around with their kids."

Ms. Delancey said the day care center, which was started 16 years ago, watches about 20 children -- many of whom come from families either at or below the poverty line.

"Our goal is to provide the children with a good environment and have them school-ready so they have the best chance at succeeding," said Ms. Delancey.

Mothers like Ms. English are grateful for the services Robin's Nest provides. Especially around this time of year, when, as she knows all too well, times can get tough.

She and Emory will be able to celebrate his birthday and Christmas again this year -- without having to sacrifice one or the other -- thanks to Robin's Nest and the Marine Corps Toys for Tots program.

"He's gotten radio control cars from Toys for Tots, action figures, all the stuff for boys his age," Ms. English said. "He was quite happy and so was I. It was just great. It was wonderful."

Donations to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Goodfellows Fund benefit Toys for Tots and in turn help out organizations like Robin's Nest, where Emory and the other children received toys Friday as they went home for the weekend following their Christmas celebration.

You can donate to Goodfellows using the coupon in the newspaper or online at www.post-gazette.com/goodfellows. Every donation is acknowledged in the Post-Gazette.

Today's total: $6,915

Grand total:$155,931.63

Anonymous $1,000

Anonymous $500

Paul Davis Restoration staff $300

Anonymous $300

John R. Echement $250

Janet Fawcett $200

Paul and Aileen Stefano $200

Nancy and Richard Clark $200

Jim and Joann Hockenberry, James Hockenberry $150

Bill and Ruth Goode in memory of Dorothy Hart $125

Lynn and Paul Raith $100

Anonymous $100

Mr. and Mrs. Robert A. Barnes $100

Thomas M. Fawcett and Katherine E. Fawcett $100

In memory of Agnes Rheam $100

Lee Goddard $100

Anonymous $100

E.J. Lange $100

Dr. and Mrs. Robert Fusco $100

Ross Jennings $100

Nancy and Henry Armstrong $100

Anonymous $100

Gary and Donna Vallano $100

Michael E. Kowalok $75

Anonymous $75

John Seitz $60

Mary Gwen Phillips $50

In memory of Sanjib K. Mukherjee $50

The Lynchs $50

Hicks children and grandchildren $50

In memory of Bam $50

In memory of Thomas "Red" Garvey $50

In memory of Jim and Jean Fischerkeller and their daughter Susie Gray $50

Mr. Ed Burkhart $50

Clair and Jill Maxwell $50

Anonymous $50

Devine family $50

Anonymous $50

Courtney Centner and Nathan Davidson $50

George and Sharon Kelly Vrontos $50

James and Dolores Callaghan $50

In memory of Dave, Diane, and Casey Berkowitz $50

Marilyn Renkey $50

In memory of Luciana Wrzesinski $50

Nancy and James Stranko $50

Mark and Sue Keller $50

Michael Bryson $50

Leona Scrivo $40

Anita Newell $40

William K. Martz $35

Jackson Nolan $35

Ainsley Nolan $35

Alex, Sam, Max, Nathan, Rene, Ari and Sophia $35

Mary Kappler in memory of Ryan $30

Anonymous $30

Rebecca, Erin and Colleen $30

Stubbs family $30

Mr. and Mrs. Jeffrey Caprino $25

In memory of Joan Albrecht $25

Gary Hutchko and Donna Graney $25

In memory of Barbara and Harold King and Harold King Jr. $25

Anonymous $25

The Kish family $25

In memory of Walter and Bernice Witkowski and Daisy $25

Mark and Lorraine Defabio $25

Tony and Bernice Piccuillo $25

Clare and Gary Torso $25

Charlene F. Devin $25

Jacqueline Murray $25

In honor of Isla Abrams $25

Greg and Ashley Richert $25

Rita Z. Woods $25

In memory of Andrew Hetzer $25

M/M Pat Flanigan $25

In memory of Tom Lesniewski, Eva, and Joe Allen $25

Sandie Scott $20

Anonymou s$20

In memory of Frank, Reda, Conrad, Dorthy and Charlie $20

Dan and Mary Lechok $20

Anonymous $20

Anonymous $20

Richard Fees $20

Makler family $20

Ken Kennard $20

Mr. and Mrs. J.A. Donaldson $20

In memory of Virginia M. Boocks $20

Walter F. Boehler $15

Cal DiMascio $15

In loving memory of Marie L. Lutz $15

In memory of T.H. Nichols, T.J. Nichols, Jan Nichols Chowan and "Sis" Blasco $10

Anonymous $10

Evans family $10

Charles King $10

In memory of FloraLee Stein $10

Anonymous $10

Carolyn Lindsay $10

Robert W. McVay $5

neigh_city - region - holidays

Jon Schmitz: jschmitz@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1868. Brian Batko: bbatko@post-gazette.com.


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