The garland is off the tree and the baubles and adornments are packed away but Central Virginians have made sure that Santa will be there for area school kids all year long.
Donations to The Santa Fund for Schoolkids, a charity that provides for the needs of children in the region throughout the year, were $14,667 more than the goal of $175,000, setting a new record of $189,667.93.
The fund drive, which began Thanksgiving Day, officially ended Wednesday. This year the fund’s total was buoyed by an anonymous donor’s $50,000 contribution that pushed the fundraiser past last year’s record total of $175,180.73.
“Even after my 26 years of involvement, it continues to amaze me, year after year,” said Caroline Emerson, vice president of community engagement for the United Way of Greater Charlottesville, “Every year the community’s response is generous, but to exceed the goal and record by almost $15,000 is unbelievable.”
The Santa Fund for Schoolkids is co-sponsored by The Daily Progress and radio station WINA and is administered by The United Way of Greater Charlottesville. It was created in 1894 by The Daily Progress’ founding publisher, James H. Lindsey. The fund is one of the nation’s longest running newspaper-sponsored charities.
“This year’s record response for the Santa Fund is humbling but not surprising, knowing the giving nature of our community,” said Daily Progress Publisher Peter S. Yates. “We are so pleased that the generosity of all of our donors will allow us to serve more needy families all year round. We offer our profound gratitude to everyone for their support.”
“The Santa Fund for Schoolkids is such a simple program,” Emerson said. “I have the joy of opening the envelopes that come in, often with holiday cards along with the gifts. The messages are such heartfelt expressions of kindness and generosity, along with tributes to loved ones.”
The Santa Fund is both simple and efficient. The money raised in the area stays in the area and there is little paperwork, as a child’s need is the qualifying factor, not a family’s income.
During the year, school teachers, principals, pastors and others who see a child with a need that the family cannot meet may contact the fund to arrange a one-time voucher to a participating retailer to address the problem.
The fund serves children in the city of Charlottesville and Albemarle, Buckingham, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, Madison, Nelson and Orange counties. Last year the fund served 1,795 children in Central Virginia, according to the United Way.
Stepping up to help are participating retailers who accept the Santa Fund vouchers. Those include Marshalls stores in Charlottesville, Fredericksburg and Glen Allen; Roses in Albemarle County, Waynesboro and Ashland; and TJ Maxx in Albemarle, Culpeper, Richmond, Harrisonburg and Staunton.
Also taking vouchers are Kid to Kid in Charlottesville; Shoe Show in Orange, Fredericksburg, Lynchburg and Madison Heights; Second Times the Charm in Orange; and Terry’s Place in Orange.
CVS Pharmacies in Albemarle, Charlottesville and Fluvanna County assist with needed medicines and LensCrafters, Drs. Nelson and Clauss Optometrist and The Spectacle Shop in Charlottesville and Albemarle County assist with eyewear.
“This year’s astounding success means that more children than ever before will be helped with basic needs, like clothing, shoes, or a decent coat,” Emerson said. “I am amazed and so very grateful to our community.”
» In honor of Violet Price From the Adult Sunday School class of Mt Zion First African Baptist Church May God Bless Your Works, $125.
Today’s total: $125
Running total: $189,667.93
Over goal by: $14,667.93