By SHERRI KOLADE
Christmas is right around the corner and the Dearborn Goodfellows and Dearborn Heights Goodfellows Association plan to make sure that local children and families will have a happy holiday.
On Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, Goodfellows from both cities assisted needy children in their respective cities by selling special edition newspapers on streets, intersections and in front of businesses. Proceeds from the newspaper sales will help the Goodfellows provide food, treats and other gifts to the city’s less fortunate residents this December.
Dearborn Goodfellows President Larry Johnson said he is proud of what his organization has done and will do for children in need.
“The sales were absolutely fantastic,” Johnson said. “We had hundreds of volunteers out there, so much more involvement (than last year). What a wonderful contribution they had made. We don’t want to see anyone without something under their tree.”
Johnson said he won’t have the final figures for paper sales until the Goodfellows put the holiday gift packages together for delivery to families and children in need.
This year, nearly 400 families representing approximately 800 children will receive gifts for the Christmas season in Dearborn. The Dearborn Goodfellows work closely with the Dearborn Public Schools to create a gift-giving list for needy Dearborn children between the ages of 2 and 11.
Johnson said last year the Goodfellows helped about 350 families. He said he hopes to match or exceed the club’s goal of $40,000 in donations.
DHGA President Don Rivard said he is pleased with how his club’s sales went.
“So many people got out and spent the day out (on the streets), and somebody compared us to sleeping giants,” Rivard said. “We only wake up one weekend a year but we work very hard to raise this money.”
The paper sales raked in $35,104 during the 84th annual event; that amount is about $3,000 less than the 2011 tally, according to a DHGA press release. But other donations received in the fall will beef up the total.
DHGA Treasurer John Zadikian said the DHGA will pack tons of donated non-perishable foods into gift baskets for delivery, which needy residents will receive beginning Saturday.
Zadikian said in a press release that the highest-grossing corner was Ford Road and Telegraph, which the Dearborn Heights Police and Reserves stood on and collected $7,443. The second highest was the Msgr. Hunt Knights of Columbus, which collected $3,399. The city’s Professional Firefighters Union had the third highest total, collecting $3,205.
Rivard said this year the donations will go to about 200 families and 500 children.
(Sherri Kolade can be reached at [email protected].)