GREENSBURG – For 102 years, the Daily News Cheer Fund has delivered gifts, food, clothing vouchers and a healthy dose of Christmas cheer to many of the less fortunate families of Decatur County- and this past season was no exception.
Due to the generosity of the people and businesses of Greensburg and Decatur County, once again, the Cheer Fund met and even exceeded its fundraising goal. This year’s goal was $53,500 and the final amount raised is $ 57,669 and counting, as donations continue to be turned into the Daily News.
The tough economic atmosphere looked to prove a challenge for Cheer Fund organizers, with many people having less to donate. Donations came in slowly during the early phases of fundraising, with much of the money being donated in the final days before Cheer Fund delivery and continuing after the season.
This year, a record-breaking 339 Families were approved for Cheer Fund benefits, with a collective 867 children among them. Very few applications were denied, with the majority of those denials due to not having school-age children in the home, or otherwise not meeting application guidelines.
Cheer Fund President Joe Rust said one of the challenges the charitable organization faced this year was changing the food mix from the more traditional holiday meal to easy-to-prepare foods that help provide nutrition to children during the extended break from school.
Rust also said there is always a bit of a mental challenge to set an appropriate fundraising goal that will both provide enough for all recipients and can also be raised by the community. Because the goal was met after the season this year, Rust reported that Cheer Fund will already have some of their work done next Christmas.
Daily News publisher Laura Welborn said another challenge the Cheer Fund faced this year was having longtime food chairman, Bob Navarra, step down from the board because of health issues. Both Welborn and Rust extended their gratitude to Navarra for his many years of service to the Cheer Fund. Sean Durbin stepped in to take Navarra’s position as food chairman.