By CHRIS JACKETT
Goodfellows in Dearborn and Dearborn Heights will take to the streets this weekend for their annual paper sales.
Each group plans to spend the bulk of the daylight hours Friday and Saturday throughout their respective cities in an effort to raise money to support Goodfellow operations and provide holiday gifts for those in need.
The papers will include information about local businesses, as well as traditional holiday-themed stories and information about the Goodfellows organization. The Heights edition also will feature about a half dozen stories and several poems written by Divine Child High School students.
“They did a fine job with them, as usual,” said John Zadikian, treasurer for the Heights’ Goodfellows.
Zadikian said the Heights paper also will include two traditional sketches: “The boy he used to be,” which depicts an elderly man holding hands with a young boy, and “The forgotten one,” which shows a child with his head resting on a table as if forgotten by Santa.
The funds raised by the Heights paper will go toward providing about 160 families, several seniors and 400 to 500 children with a holiday meal that will include a turkey (chicken for seniors) and other nonperishable food donated by the local school districts.
“We put them in food boxes and distribute them. Most of the recipients also get a gift card for a local vendor,” Zadikian said. “Our goal of the year is no child without a Christmas.”
Larry Johnson, president of the Dearborn Goodfellows, said his group has gone from helping about 400 kids a few years ago to about 1,000 this year, all ages 11 and under.
“Absolutely no child will be left behind. I will make sure anything can be done to help a needy family,” Johnson said. “We only have two activities per year to raise money for 1,000 kids. Our goal this year is upward to $40,000 to $50,000.”
The packages will provide young children in need with supplies on Dec. 24.
“We package all the gifts according to the age and sex of the child,” Johnson said. “They’ll be the standard: warm winter clothing, school supplies, toys. Probably a few surprises in there.”
Zadikian said the Heights Goodfellows are doing whatever is necessary to keep going strong. Both groups said they have received plenty of support from local businesses.
“Folks in the area have been very supportive, and we’re thankful for that,” Zadikian said. “Even in a bad economy, we get sufficient funds from our supporters.
“If you’re the type of person who wants to donate to a charity and see the money put to use locally, the Goodfellows is good for that. Any amount they can give. If you’ve got loose change, we’ll take that. Every penny, nickel and dime adds up, that’s for sure.”
(Contact Chris Jackett at [email protected])