The Santa Fund has given local children what they need all year long since 1894, and area residents are making sure it happens again in 2020, breaking a record for donations to the fund in the process.
Contributions to the charity, created in 1894 by The Daily Progress’ founding publisher, James H. Lindsey, have surpassed the $175,000 goal for the second year in a row and already set a new record, according to information from The United Way of Greater Charlottesville, which administers the Santa Fund.
Buoyed by an anonymous donor’s $50,000 contribution this week, the fund now has reached a new high of $175,730.55. Last year, the fund raised a record $175,180.73.
Hantzmon Wiebel employees donated $1,280 and an anonymous donor offered up $1,025.64 to help push the fund over the top Thursday.
Most of the donations to the fund come in increments of $25 to $100, making the Santa Fund a charity that appeals to the entire community.
“The generosity of our community knows no limits, and we are humbled by the record-setting support for this year’s Santa Fund,” said Peter S. Yates, publisher of The Daily Progress. “This amazing response will allow the United Way to serve more children than ever and provide needed relief to hundreds more families in our region.”
The Santa Fund is co-sponsored by The Daily Progress and radio station WINA-AM.
Last year, the fund served 1,795 children in Central Virginia, according to The United Way.
The children’s charity began its quasquicentennial fund drive on Thanksgiving Day and the drive ends in mid-January.
The fund is one of the longest-running newspaper-sponsored charities in the country and 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.
“When local families come together to help our communities’ children, there is no end to the power of goodness that can occur,” said Ravi Respeto, president of The United Way of Greater Charlottesville.
“Santa Fund for school kids is all about looking out for our local children who do not have the economic advantages to have the basics for success: a warm coat, new shoes, a pair of eyeglasses and school supplies,” she said. “We were so successful this year because our community rallied and came together to put kids first. We at The United Way are so grateful for this outpouring of care and concern. Thank you!”
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.
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.
Contributions may be mailed to The Santa Fund, 806 E. High St., Charlottesville, VA 22902. Contributions also may be made at thesantafund.org.
» In honor of David Maurer, $100
» In memory of Rob “Thomas Jefferson” Coles, $76.92
» In loving memory of MeMa Wynne, $102.56
» In honor of my grandson Niko, $25
» Anonymous, $100
» Merry Christmas to Herb and Becky Silvers, $102.56
» In memory of Keith “Bones” Luster, $102.56
» Hantzmon Wiebel employees, $1,280
» Cindy Greer, $51.28
» Anonymous, $1,025.64
Today’s total: $2,966.52
Running total: $175,730.55
Over goal by: $730.55