For one Center Grove area woman last year, Santa Claus arrived not on Christmas Eve but on the Saturday before.
That was the day three Franklin residents arrived carrying a box of milk, potatoes and the makings of Christmas dinner provided by the Good Cheer Fund.
Her home was in foreclosure, and she had bills to pay for three children with special needs. Without the food, she said, she wouldn’t have been able to afford a holiday meal for her family.
The woman said she was surprised by the amount of food her family received. She had never participated in the program before and didn’t expect to get a ham, bacon or even milk.
As she put away the food, her two daughters walked into the kitchen and jumped at the sight, eying a box of cookies.
“I think there are a lot of people who care enough to help,” the woman said.
In another Center Grove area neighborhood, a mother and her two children unpacked the box of food she received from the Good Cheer Fund.
This was the second time the family had received food through the program, and the mother said some of the items they got, such as two jars of peanut butter, would last them quite a while.
Other items, such as the box of brownies, wouldn’t last very long, her 9-year-old son said.
The woman was out of work and said she had to spend a lot of time taking her son to medical appointments. Though their family recently had moved from an apartment to a house, she said they still wouldn’t have been able to afford Christmas dinner.
These are just two of the roughly 775 homes that received baskets of food last year through the Good Cheer Fund, a local philanthropic tradition that dates back to 1921. Residents donate money, and schoolchildren bring in canned goods to fill baskets for families in need. Volunteers deliver baskets across the county.
It is an entirely volunteer effort, from the collection of money and food items, to the packing and delivery. No one is paid, but many volunteers would tell you they would even pay to participate. In fact, some families have participated for so many years that they are in their third generation of helping out.
But the effort would not be a success without your help. Last year the campaign collected about $31,500, and at least that much will be needed again this year. Monetary donations can be dropped off at or mailed to the Daily Journal, P.O. Box 699, Franklin, IN 46131. As in the past, donations can be made in honor of people.
You will be asked to contribute to many worthy causes this holiday season, but we make a special appeal for the Good Cheer Fund.
The need continues to be great, and this very real neighbor-helping-neighbor effort makes a big difference in local people’s lives.
With your help, we can continue to have an impact.