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Without Santa Fund, Orange school division would 'be hurting'

One of Central Virginia’s poorest school divisions will get some much-needed help from the community again this year.

“If it wasn’t for the Santa Fund, we’d be hurting,” said Dave Kohstall, a counselor at Orange County High School. “I don’t think we could be without it.”

The Santa Fund will help children in need across Central Virginia for the 125th year, including in Orange County.

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

The Santa Fund is sponsored by The Daily Progress and radio station WINA in a partnership with The United Way of Greater Charlottesville. In addition to Orange County, the fund serves children in the city of Charlottesville and the counties of Albemarle, Buckingham, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, Madison and Nelson.

Orange County Public Schools is second among divisions in the region, behind Louisa County, in its percentage of economically disadvantaged students.

Of Orange’s 5,092 students, 45% qualify for free or reduced-price lunch or other types of financial assistance programs, according to the Virginia Department of Education. In the high school, it’s 55% of students.

“I don’t think a lot of people understand the level of poverty in Orange County,” Kohstall said.

Kohstall said the division receives about $15,000 a year from the Santa Fund and gives out vouchers for clothes to about 300 students.

Some of the money is held back for emergency situations, such as a recent house fire that destroyed all of a family’s belongings.

“I just can’t say enough about how important it is for us to receive that money,” Kohstall said, “and how grateful we are.”

This year’s goal is $175,000. Last year, a record high of $175,180 was raised. The fund drive kicked off on Thanksgiving Day and continues until mid-January.

So far this year, $79,716.82 has been raised.

Contributions may be mailed to: Santa Fund, 806 E. High St., Charlottesville, VA 22902. Donations also can be made at


» Grand Home Furnishings Grand Benevolent Fund, $50

» Mincer’s University of Virginia Imprinted Sportswear in memory of our founder, Robert W. Mincer, $250

» In memory of deceased Doe Sisters, Charlottesville Doe Club, $200

» From Joey, David and Julie, $200

» From Bitsy and David Waters, $100

» In loving memory of our parents Ronnie and Jeannette Deavers, $100

» For my grandchildren and great-grandchildren, $75

» From Denny and Jackie, $100

» In memory of Angela Tucker, $100

» In loving memory of our PaPa from Austin, Ryleigh and Ryan, $25

» From Chrissie and Mr. Man, $50

» In memory of Uncle George, $25

» In memory of Trip, $50

» Maureen Finn, $100

» Anonymous in honor of the nurses, staff and physicians of Pediatric Associates, $500

» In memory of Slim, Duke and Pumpkin, $1,000

» Sandy and Vince, $100

» In memory of Dan, Jan and Janice, $150

» In memory of loved ones, $25

» In memory of my parents, Johnnie and Belle Lawson, from Charles Lawson, $300

» In loving memory of Harlan, from Nancy, $50

» Anonymous, $102.56

» Anonymous, $200

Today’s total: $3,852.56

Running total: $79,716.82

Goal: $175,000

To reach goal: $95,283.18


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