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Madison students use Santa Fund for virtual learning

In rural Madison County, virtual learning isn’t always easy.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, some students need help accessing resources.

That’s where the Santa Fund for Schoolkids comes in, helping children in Central Virginia for the 126th year.

Established in 1894, the fund collects donations to provide vouchers for families to buy shoes, clothing, school supplies, eyeglasses and other essentials for children in need.

Sponsored by The Daily Progress and radio station WINA in conjunction with The United Way of Greater Charlottesville, the Santa Fund serves children in the city of Charlottesville and the counties of Albemarle, Buckingham, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, Madison, Nelson and Orange.

“This program is more important than ever. It has certainly been more meaningful to the recipients,” said Celene Pumphrey, administrative manager for Madison County Social Services, who handles the Santa Fund in the county. “We’re grateful for it every year, but never so much as we are now.”

This year, Madison County received a base Santa Fund allocation of $8,000 and plans to serve about 130 children.

In September, the county received an additional $5,000 to target needs for hybrid learning models amid the pandemic.

“They already help a lot of people, but also to gear this thing toward extraordinary circumstances has been great,” Pumphrey said.

Pumphrey said some students have used the money for internet access, headsets and other computer-related items. She said the money helps students who aren’t always going to school, but aren’t entirely staying at home.

“There would be a much larger disparity if it wasn’t for the Santa Fund,” she said.

This year’s goal is $175,000. Last year, $189,667.93 was raised, which set a new record.

So far this year, $40,421.55 has been raised.

Please mail all contributions to: Santa Fund, 806 E. High St., Charlottesville, VA 22902. Contributions also can be made at


 In memory of Tom and Susan Baber, $50

 In memory of Coach Jimmy Jones from his family, $200

 In honor of our grandchildren: Liam, Finn, Emerson, Rosie, Harper and Iris, $200

 Kathleen Murphy, $100

 In memory of Ham, my everything, $100

 In loving memory of Eloise Davis, from Charlotte Morris, $50

 Andrew and Margaret Beath, $250

 Anonymous, $100

 Shag Kiefer and Joan Chapman, $25

 In memory of Vera and Spurgeon DeWitt, $50

 Anonymous, $102.56

 In memory of Steven Bruce Thompson, $51.28

 Frances Greenstein, $51.28

 In loving memory of my parents, Ed and Stella Erickson, $102.56

 In memory of Grandpa Ernie, who we miss every day! With love from Texas, $102.56

 In memory of Chyler Ebersold. With love from Texas, $102.56

 Raymond Sharpe, $51.28

 Robert and Nancy Brewbaker, $102.56

 In memory of John and Lea Dempsey, $102.56

 To honor past, present and future outstanding young men who represent Western Albemarle High School on the tennis courts, $200

TODAY’S TOTAL: $2,094.20

RUNNING TOTAL: $40,421.55

GOAL: $175,000

TO REACH GOAL: $134,578.45


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