GREENSBURG – Applications for Decatur County families in need of assistance from the Daily News Cheer Fund this Christmas season will soon be available.

There are two ways to submit an application: Bring a completed application (printed daily in the newspaper Nov. 12 through 30) to our office at 135 S. Franklin Street during business hours (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.), or, for the first time this year, go to the CheerFund.org website and submit it electronically.

Approved families (based on SNAP guidelines set by the state) will be notified by phone or by text.

All applications are due by Dec. 2, either submitted electronically or hand-delivered to the Daily News office by 4 p.m. that day.

The fundraising goal for this year is $49,500 thanks to late donations after last season that created a starting fund this year of $3,600.

Publisher and Daily News Cheer Fund President Laura Welborn reminds community leaders and businesses that all donations, both monetary or in the form of toys and food, are appreciated.

Since clothing certificates are added to each family’s Christmas morning cheer, merchants and donors are reminded that financial donations are most beneficial when given early in the season.

“This helps the board to plan purchases of toys that may be added to give each family their full gift, based on the year’s donation totals,” said Welborn.

One organization that has contacted the Daily News to help gather food gifts this year is the Greensburg Country Club.

President David McCullough announced recently that the country club is hosting a drive-thru food drive to benefit this year’s effort. Donors wishing to participate are asked to drop off their food items from 8 a.m to noon Nov. 27.

“The food drive is open to the public, so please pass the word around,” said McCullough.

The Cheer Fund team will take over the Knights of Columbus Hall on Dec. 9 this year, assembling boxes of age appropriate toys while the food committee begins assembling food boxes.

The exhausting planning, sorting and packing of each box is truly a labor of love for the all-volunteer Cheer Fund board and the volunteers who make each year’s drive a success.

Volunteers interested in ringing bells or packing toys or food items may reach out to Welborn at 812-663-3111 ext. 217001 or Daily News employee Shelley Barton at ext. 217022.

The bell ringer schedule is complete, but ringers are still needed for the Walmart location the morning of Nov. 30.

Questions can be emailed to cheerfund@greensburgdailynews.com.

For those interested in contributing money to the Cheer Fund, cash and checks are accepted at the Daily News front counter. Bell ringers will be out on weekends at local stores starting the weekend of Thanksgiving. Donations may also be made via Paypal and Facebook or by mail at P.O. Box 106, Greensburg, IN, 47240.

Donations of kid-friendly foods and new, unwrapped toys will also be accepted at the Daily News, 135 S. Franklin Street, Greensburg.

The Cheer Fund season is filled with moving, poignant moments – from young and old braving the wintery chill to dozens of smiling volunteers gathered in the predawn to pack vehicles for Cheer Fund deliveries.

“Since its humble origins more than 100 years ago, Cheer Fund has grown into a force of nature, and the true embodiment of the Christmas spirit,” said Welborn. “A large portion of that is due to the army of volunteers who work so hard each year to make it happen.”

Contact Bill Rethlake at 812-663-3111, ext 217011 or email bill.rethlake@greensburgdailynews.com

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