Families in Louisa County affected by the pandemic were able to turn to the Santa Fund for Schoolkids to make sure their children had what they needed for the school 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. The United Way of Greater Charlottesville expanded the program this year to help with needs related to COVID-19, such as paying for internet service, which has been helpful for Louisa families.
Robin Cleary, a social worker who coordinates the fund in Louisa, said the program was needed more than ever this year. She noticed new families seeking assistance while others reached out as soon as they could in July.
“Because of the pandemic, in many families, the head of households may have lost their jobs or had their hours cut back,” she said. “So that’s why I say this year that I have noticed new families.”
Louisa County Public Schools started the academic year in August with a mix of in-person and virtual classes. Half of the division’s students are considered economically disadvantaged.
“This year, parents who normally do not have [a need] were able to benefit from the program by helping their kids have supplies and the necessities they needed to start off the school year,” Cleary said.
More than 50 families have received vouchers this school year, with more than $8,000 in funds from last year’s Santa Fund campaign dispersed, she said.
The vouchers have been used to pay for new clothes and school supplies, Cleary said. She gave students learning in-person first dibs on the vouchers, but there was also a need among those opting for all-online classes.
“Even though they’re home, they want to look presentable too, before their peers and teachers,” she said.
Administered by the United Way, the Santa Fund helps children in the city of Charlottesville and the counties of Albemarle, Buckingham, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, Madison, Nelson and Orange.
The fund is co-sponsored by The Daily Progress and radio station WINA The annual fundraising drive, with a goal this year of $175,000, kicked off Thanksgiving Day and runs through mid-January.
Last year, $189,667.93 was raised, which set a new record. So far this year, $86,831.58 has been raised.
Please mail all contributions to: Santa Fund, 806 E. High St., Charlottesville, VA 22902. Contributions also can be made at thesantafund.org.
Zach and Haley Taylor, $102.56
In loving memory of Brenda Ann Good, $100
J. Pilkington Jarnesworth, $200
For Gmother and Gfather A and Leslie Susan, $200
Don and Marian Spano, $100
Rose and Charles Myers, $100
Robert and Nancy Button, $200
John and Kitty Roberson, $100
In memory of Ajith Serasundera, $25
Heath Family, $100
In loving memory of our Papa, from Austin, Ryleigh and Ryan, $25
In memory of Harry, Winston, Tim, Ray, Randy, Ricky, Bob, Elizabeth, Mavis, Francis (sis), EC, Rana, Russell, Llewellyn, George, Janey, Big Jack, Ebb, Windsor and Chip, from Cecilia Jones Kimata, $150
M. Whyte, $500
Mr. Nimrod T. Clark, $50
In memory of Snoopy, Shirley, Jack and my grandparents, $100
Carol Johnston, $100
In loving memory of Gramma and Herbie, $50
In honor of Fletcher, Zee, Sam, Charlie and Phebe, $50”
In honor of my growing family—Lexie and Leo Robert. Granny, $100
In memory of Vicky Gee, $100
In loving memory of Wally Bedell, Judy Surber and Jane Kerewech, $300
In memory of Jim McGrath, $100
In memory of our daughter and sister, Tracey Welch, and our parents and grandparents, Rosa and Paul Taylor, from Shirley, Whitey and Paul Welch, $500
Miss my angels Chester Davis, Madie Proffitt, Billy Proffitt, Charlotte Spencer and Buck Spencer, $50
In memory of Mort Kahn. Phil and Ingrid Robinson, $100
Ken and Lucille Digges, $100
Kate Kessler, $250
In honor of our frontline workers. John and Keggie, $100
In memory of Randall Pennington, $100
For Pickles, $25
In loving memory of Harlan, $50
In memory of Jim and Martha Moubray, two angels in heaven together again, $50
Gary Chovan and Donna Arehart, $500
TODAY’S TOTAL: $4,827.56
RUNNING TOTAL: $86,831.58
TO REACH GOAL: $88,168.42