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Editorial: Local charity efforts need helping hands

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Volunteers filled a kitchen cabinet to overflowing. Cans of sweet corn, green beans and peaches were stacked up four cans high. On the counter were a loaf of bread, platter of rolls, milk, eggs and cheese.

The apartment’s resident just watched. Her hands were clasped in front of her chest, tears streaked her face, and her bottom lip quivered as the food was unloaded in front of her.

“I hope you know the good you do,” she said, choking slightly on the words. “I have no idea where I’m going to put all of this. But that’s a good problem to have.”

The food was part of a Good Cheer Fund package, one of hundreds delivered this past year. Each box contained a ham, fresh eggs, milk and potatoes, plus canned goods to last another few days.

How to help

Monetary donations can be dropped off at or mailed to the Daily Journal, P.O. Box 699, Franklin, IN 46131.

“This means everything for us,” the resident said. “We’re just making it day-to-day now.”

Basket distribution began this week and will culminate in Christmas Eve deliveries to hundreds of homes.

The Good Cheer Fund is an annual Johnson County tradition, and it’s an all-volunteer effort. It begins with schoolchildren donating canned and nonperishable food items. This past year, they collected 41,000 items.

Then money is collected to purchase the perishable items. Finally, volunteers fill and deliver the baskets. This past year, the effort distributed 775 baskets of food to less fortunate individuals and families.

The entire effort is due to the efforts and generosity of the residents and organizations of Johnson County. It’s all volunteers. No one is paid. The reward comes in knowing that they have helped, just as they have for nearly a century.

But the effort is running short of monetary donations this year and needs support from the community.

For many families, receiving a Good Cheer basket means the family would have a nutritionally balanced meal for the first time in months.

One repeat volunteer expressed a sentiment likely shared by many when this past year she said: “I say it every year, but that was the best thing I’ve ever done.”

But even with the deliveries, the work is not done. Last year, $38,084 in donated funds was used to purchase food items for the baskets. This year’s campaign needs continued generosity so all the bills will be covered. So your continued support is needed.

The Good Cheer Fund campaign represents the best of the community, neighbors helping neighbors.

The only payment donors and volunteers hope for is the smiles of thanks from the hundreds of families who will be helped during the holiday season.

So if you can help, your assistance will be greatly appreciated. And if you’ve already helped out in one way or another, we speak for the entire community when we say, “Thank you.”

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