Goodfellows brightening the holidays

Volunteers preparing items for needy

Grace Kirchner Leader Correspondent

About 180 needy families will have a better holiday season this year because of the Clintonville Goodfellows.

Volunteers have been busy this week at Memory Lanes and Banquet Hall preparing boxes of groceries, toys and items of clothing to have them ready for pickup on Thursday.

There were 30 volunteers on hand Wednesday, including students and adults.

“There was a population of people that were being missed, so the community of Marion was added to the group to be served,” volunteer Lori Mattes said. “This just warms my heart to know that kids in this community will have a better holiday.”

In the past, the Goodfellows distribution has been limited to the Clintonville School District, but this year the distribution was expanded to include Marion School District.

Needy families receive a box of food and a gift certificate for Econo Foods, and each minor child will receive a gift. The size of the gift certificate depends upon the donations.

Goodfellows takes names of families that may need assistance, and families are notified if they are selected. Applicants cannot be receiving assistance from any other organization.

Mattes said the donations to Goodfellows have been very generous this year. The boxes include cereal, canned goods, soups, paper products, sliced ham, a stick of sausage, shampoo, Kleenex, mashed potatoes, and macaroni and cheese. Mattes said Kwik Trip has donated a loaf of bread and fruit for each box this year. There is also a stack of blankets available.

Donations come from individuals, businesses, civic groups, and some through the United Way campaign. Churches often contribute canned goods, mittens, caps and blankets.

Goodfellows has a good supply of winter jackets, caps, mittens and some boots.

“Every item that is donated finds a home,” volunteer Steve Conradt said. “Any unclaimed items will go to hospitals or another place of need.”

When a family member stops to claim gifts and food, they are given a tour of the room to claim appropriate items. Children are not allowed to attend.

Founded in the early 1950s by Frank Sinkewicz, former officer at FWD Corp., the Goodfellows program has provided items to the less fortunate to make the holiday season a bit brighter each year,

“We have been blessed with the many donations. It has come a long way since Frank Sinkiewicz started Goodfellows,” Conradt said.