Donors come through for Pittsburgh region's children

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The Goodfellows Fund team, many thousands strong, has done it again.

Across the region, children in needy families are awakening to find toys under the tree, gifts that were made possible thanks to generous Pittsburgh Post-Gazette readers who donated to the Goodfellows Fund.

Those donations helped to fuel an amazing enterprise that involved countless hours of volunteer work by members of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve and several organizations that helped to sort and distribute the toys, along with more than 200 nonprofit agencies that delivered toys.

Each year, more than 50,000 toys go out to children in struggling families, thanks to the Marine Corps Toys for Tots program, which is supported by Goodfellows.

We take time now to salute the companies, organizations and schools that volunteered through Pittsburgh Cares to help make this a magical day for so many:

#1 Cochran, Academy Charter School, Alcoa, Allegheny County Airport firefighters, BNY Mellon, Braskem, Brentwood High School, Citizens Bank, Colker Co., Community East School, CVS Caremark, Gannon University alumni, Greycourt, Heinz, Highmark, Home Depot, Keystone Young Marines, Lunova, Marsh, Matthews Inc., Oxford Solutions, Penn Hills High School, Penn National Insurance, Point Park University, Sentric, ShowClix, SnapRetail, Social Venture Partners Pittsburgh Kids, Towers Watson, United Healthcare, University of Pittsburgh and Valspar.

We tip our Santa hats also to radio station 96.1 KISS, whose Stuff-a-Bus promotion collected 21,854 toys, enough to fill 42 buses.

And we extend our thanks to the more than 2,200 Post-Gazette readers who donated to this year's campaign. A grand total along with the final donations list will appear in the newspaper on Jan. 1.

The Goodfellows story

We at the Post-Gazette are proud each Christmas 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 he 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.

Our thanks to all who have helped preserve this wonderful tradition across the years. Merry Christmas!

Today's total: $38,793.50

Grand total: $172,503.31

Newsroom employees of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette...$3,728

Pittsburgh Stock and Bond Association Inc. $3,000

In memory of Ian Cohen - Your family loves you $1,002

In memory of Joseph M. Fastuca $1,000

Anonymous $1,000

In memory of Henry and Claire Leong, Ina Gee Leong......$1,000

In memory of Harry and Gwan Fong Gee $1,000

In memory of our parents$1,000

Anonymous $800

PMTA Southwest Chapter......$750

In loving memory of Mary H. Maguire from Lars and Marybeth Olander and family $700

Corinne Lightbown..............$500

Anonymous $500

Anonymous $500

Anonymous $500

Anonymous $500

In memory of Frank D. Watson $500

Anonymous $400

The Beard family $300

D. Petronko $300

In memory of Alexander Kulli $300

John S. Hyrb $250

Ken and Dianna Kuligowski.$250

American Cable Association.$250

Tri Rivers Surgical Associates Inc. $202

Rachel Check $200

In honor of Ruth and Fred Egler$200

Carol and John Wallace.......$200

Anonymous $200

The seven Cloherty sisters.$200

In memory of Robert E. Thomas and in honor of his Grandson Evan Spencer Thomas........$200

Matt and Chris Kohl............$200

In memory of Ruth and Carl Tolino $200

Dr. and Mrs. Ronald Landay.$200

Tom Lerani $200

Matthew Marlin $200

Ancient Order of Hibernians Division #4 $150

The Department of Psychology University of Pittsburgh.......$150

Zach, Abby, Max, Sam........$150

Spatara Painting $150

Barbara and Robert Park....$150

Ignacia and Blanca Grossmann $150

Janet Markel $150

Anonymous $125

Martin and Lynne Feuer.......$105

Anonymous $100

Roberto DeFazio $100

Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Veltre and family $100

Anonymous $100

Fred and Bev Dupin.............$100

Mrs. Max L. Bluestone........$100

In honor of James, Rachel, Alex and Bethany $100

Barb and Matt Gmuer.........$100

Anonymous $100

Anonymous $100

in memory of Mary Grace Carmody and Sue Thomas.......$100

John B. Mallon Sr. $100

Susan and Donald Giles......$100

Mike and Joan Lynch...........$100

Anonymous $100

Anonymous $100

In memory of Joseph M Bayuk, Sigmund J Pehel and Michael J Pehel $100

In memory of John Breniser$100

In memory of Nancy Yukica.$100

Gregory Waldo $100

Dillan and Bailey $100

Nancy and Jim Stranko........$100

Stan Levine and Barbara Weschler $100

In memory of Sabina Holcomb.$100

Bill and Karen Caughie........$100

Anonymous $100

Mr. and Mrs. Robert A. Barnes $100

F.C.S.L.A. Branch 218.........$100

Henry and Nancy Armstrong.$100

Carol and Nelson Craige......$100

Joe and Ann Shuman..........$100

Carolyn and Linn Noah........$100

Liz and Randy Kosky............$100

Anonymous $100

In memory of Samuel and Geraldine Frey $100

Anonymous $100

Allan and Linda Andrew.......$100

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

Sharon and Ken Brown.......$100

In memory of Harry Silberstein..$100

Helen R. Durden $100

Anonymous $100

In memory of Robert and Edna Stripp $100

Bz Fennimore and Marvin Fein.$100

In honor of Donna Brodmerkel$100

Joe and Emmy DeGregorio..$100

Kendall, Vanna, Vixen, Marlee$100

In memory of Vic, Lorraine and Phil from Tom and Tracy Spagnol..$100

Anonymous $100

D.J. and Napolean South....$100

Every child deserves Christmas$100

Ishar and Nirmal Singh........$100

In memory of Evelyn Grace Falcone, John J. O'Leary, Deborah Ann McDonald, Herbert H. Loper.$100

D.P. Dozzi $100

Rich and Virginia Kowalski..$100

In memory of Don, Jean and Donnie Bowser $100

Laurie Adams $100

Marcia Bandes $100

Paddy the Wanderer $81

Anonymous $80

David and Michele Bartko $75

Anonymous $75

In memory of Jos. Mazur Sr., Mary, Jos. Jr., Mary Lou $75

Patti Kubli $75

In memory of Dorothy Roch $60

Anonymous $60

In memory of Tony Fundo $60

In honor of Jane Etherington $60

Jean Cason in memory of Gordon Cason $53

In honor of Naomi Baldesberger.$50

Anonymous $50

Mr. and Mrs. D. Nyalka $50

Anonymous $50

Mark and Lori Feth $50

In memory of Joey Sabol $50

In memory of Rosie $50

Anonymous $50

In loving memory of Kalin Rose Woods $50

Anonymous $50

In memory of Wellington $50

Max and Keira Qureshi $50

Auberta Parke $50

Chet and Anita Smolenski $50

Anonymous $50

Anonymous $50

Sejka grandchildren $50

Marc Levine $50

Janet F. Livorine $50

Mr. and Mrs. Alan Garfinkel $50

Ed and Ruth $50

Ken and Ralph $50

Daryl Drozd $50

Michael Porter $50

In memory of Guadalupe Carapos $50

In honor of Alexandra and Paige..$50

Anonymous $50

Virginia W. Schatz $50

Sherry Malone $50

Melanie and Charlie Popovich.$50

Eric, Amanda and Josie Gillen.$50

Anonymous $50

Gary Sivewright $50

The Garvey family $50

Jean Picone $50

Gail Czajkowski $50

Susan, Joanne and Marianne.$50

David, Helen, Becky and Amanda Dugan $50

M. Filip $50

Edwin Burkhart $50

Ian and Margaret Simpson $50

In memory of George L. Smoulder $50

The Gilfoyle family $50

Whitten Little $50

In memory of Elaine Carstensen.$50

Thomas Lengerer $50

In memory of Sweet Maddox Lamar Derkosh from the Rhoads family $50

In memory of Enis Masciantonio$50

Mr. and Mrs. William Hughes$50

Mr. and Mrs. Charles Byrnes$50

Mr. and Mrs. James Hughes.$50

David G. Walsh $50

Nick and Pap $50

In memory of Angela Shelleby.$50

In memory of Mary Kay Wood.$50

RC $50

James and Nancy Young $50

Terrance and Connie McDaniel.$50

Valent family $50

Allen Rich $50

Gerry and Mary Ellen Goga $50

Wall family $50

Mimi Frey and Bruce Connelly.$50

Virginia Klimkowski $50

In memory of Bill and Julie Cook.$50

E. Carlin $50

In memory of Lucille Woods $50

Mrs. Muriel Merrill $50

In memory of John and Susanne Begovich $50

Debra Bodner $50

The Vogt family $50

Katelynn and Kacey Doyle $50

Washington Financial Bank Main Street branch CSRs and tellers..$50

Washington Financial Bank Wealth Management Division.........$50

Rick Dunbar $50

In memory of Elma H. Robson$50

Brian and Tammy Carroll $50

The Yank family $50

Thomas J. Moore $50

Jinny Welker $50

Michael A. Roehrig $50

Benjamin E. Hicks $50

Charles and Patricia Gross $50

Claudia Kirkpatrick $50

Anonymous $50

Susan and Wayne Woomer $40

In memory of John Sr. and Ronald Knight $40

James K. Sylves $40

James K. Sylves $40

Nancy and Brad Bognar $40

Albert W. Rorer $40

In honor of Brandon and Brooke Fritzley $40

Jack and Mimi Halpern $36

A friend $35

In memory of Gail Kolesar $35

Anonymous $35

Anonymous $35

Anonymous $30

Muriel and George Fritsch $30

Rebecca, Erin, and Colleen $30

Melinda Losego $30

Ms. Jane M. Graham $30

Mr. and Mrs. S. Barish $30

Daryl and Rosemary Johnson.$30

Pat Lunn $30

Charles and Angela Hardwick.$30

Richard Braun $30

Corday Yeager $30

Lauren and Luke Gaertner $30

Phyllis Newmark $30

The Costello family $30

Joseph and Susan Indovina $30

In memory of Mark Ricci, Ed Dawes, "Jamm" and Butch and Ruth Oleskie $30

St. Bonaventure Preschool students $30

Liam and Molly O'Brien $30

Ray and Mary Jane Battistoni.$30

Merico Lignelli $25

JoAnn Dalmolin $25

Janet Lynn Haggerty $25

S. Peters $25

Robert Manuel $25

In memory of Bill, Mildred and Arnie Hoffman $25

In memory of Charlotte Herbst - best mom ever $25

In memory of Alice and Howard Gillard $25

Leanne Petty $25

Anonymous $25

In memory of Gladys L. Smith.$25

In memory of Leonard O. Brown.$25

In memory of Velvayne Smith$25

Marilyn Couch $25

Alice McKenna $25

Marcinak $25

Sharon A. Hoffman $25

Ronald Julkowski $25

Anonymous $25

Anonymous $25

In memory of Richard and Barbara Ross $25

In memory of Whitey Oblock and his son Jerry Oblock - their loving family $25

In memory of Pap Pap Russ $25

Auvie Malkin $25

In memory of William Block Sr.. $25

In memory of Maxine Block $25

In memory of Joan Albrecht $25

Studio Ochre $25

Mark Lantz $25

In memory of Joey Goedert $25

Calvin and Gina and Mom $25

Erik and Alex $25

Anonymous $25

John and Barbara Gieder $25

Jacquelyn A. Murray $25

Anonymous $25

Anonymous $25

Magnelli family $25

Anonymous $25

Chuck and Judy Lightner $25

Emmett and Debra Brown $25

Joe Bartunek $25

John E. Burke $25

Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Mastraieni Jr. $25

George and Irene Kovalyak $25

Mike Latini $25

Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Mueller.$25

In memory of Terry and Jack Webber $25

In memory of Patricia DeMatty Lepore $25

In memory of Mary J., Marge and Matt Hicks $25

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

Anonymous $25

Dr. and Mrs. David V. Morse $25

Timothy M. Thompson $25

Dr. Nancy Z. Nelson $25

Anonymous $25

In honor of Mrs. Eloise Wilding$25

Adam, A.J. and Lauren $25

R.J. DeGrazia $25

Kathleen Schmitt $25

Patricia O'Connell $25

Jacqueline Wilson $25

In memory of Ken Skinnell $25

In memory of Maryann Weinell$25

Anonymous $25

A. Pate $25

Anonymous $25

Jean Boyer $25

Tom Valenza $25

In honor of Amiyah and Eddie$25

Ed and Rita Kernisky $25

In memory of Joseph Barthen.$25

Ken and Joyce Mueller $25

Anonymous $25

In memory of Thomas G. Gault.$25

C. Shingleton $25

Mary Bonach $25

Anonymous $25

Marilyn Fenati $25

In memory of Dr. Anne R. Jones$25

In memory of Evan McBroom$25

Anonymous $25

Betz family $25

George Smith $25

Art and Debbie Schulties $25

Andrew and Sam $25

Doug and Beth Heuer $25

Carlos A Davis $25

In memory of Frances Gacka.$25

In memory of James Lyne $25

In memory of Mark Anthony Natalia (Dec. 31, 1989), brother of DJ and Julia $24

Anthony Morell $22

Anonymous $20

Pat and Frank Moreno $20

Anonymous $20

Montgomery $20

Jeanie Cappello $20

Anonymous $20

Gene and Bud $20

In memory of Barb Duss and Bill Suit $20

E&S $20

Anonymous $20

James and Jane Nescot $20

Aidan and Gracie Cramer $20

In memory of Kathleen and John Bossick in memory of Daisy $20

Mr. and Mrs. Henry Caprino $20

Dr. Douglas Bowers $20

S. Pawlak $20

In memory of Maurice Short $20

Cathy Dennler $20

Dennis E. Cassidy $20

Donald and Janet Williams $20

Anton and Pam $20

Ed and Rose Kerestes $20

Willard R. Hoel $20

Anonymous $20

Dorothy P. Holden $20

Anonymous $20

Hannah Robin and Pappy Rick Friedel $20

Ken Kennard $20

Anonymous $20

Don Idecker $20

James and Linda Stokes $20

In memory of Morton Jerry Baum$20

In loving memory of Dorothy and Chaz Cerepani $17.50

Donna Legeza $15

Stan Materkowski $15

Carole Lohn $15

Anonymous $15

Joanne and Larry Hanlon $15

Anonymous $15

Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert Peisakoff.$15

Mark Carlberg $10

Sylvia McGrath $10

Edward Colerich $10

In memory of our son Christopher $10

Shirley M. Brice $10

M. Drebus $10

Anonymous $10

Anonymous $10

Anonymous $10

In memory of Flora Lee Stein.$10

Robert Cramer $10

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

Alex Danenberg $10

Rita Gallagher $10

Anna and Anthony Oshie $10

Eva Ignelzi $10

Loretta Ferguson $10

In thanks to St. Jude $6

Bella Yellin $5

Anonymous $5

J. Szalajda $5

Phyllis Frydrych $2


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

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