Brighter Christ­mas Fund kicks off 33rd year

Dorchester Star - - Front Page - By JOSH BOLLINGER jbollinger@star­dem.com

EAS­TON — As the sea­son of giv­ing nears, The Star Demo­crat is start­ing its an­nual fundraiser that aims to make Christ­mas more spe­cial for Mid-Shore chil­dren who are less for­tu­nate.

This hol­i­day sea­son marks the 33rd year for

The Star Demo­crat’s Brighter Christ­mas Fund. From now through De­cem­ber, The Star Demo­crat will pub­lish daily sto­ries de­tail­ing the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion of a fam­ily, ask­ing Mid-Shore com­mu­nity mem­bers for mone­tary do­na­tions to dis­trib­ute to lo­cal fam­i­lies and their chil­dren who are less for­tu­nate.

In 2015, the Brighter Christ­mas Fund raised $145,000 — by far the most raised in a sin­gle year — to help 800 fam­i­lies with 1,800 chil­dren have a bet­ter Christ­mas. It was also the 12th con­sec­u­tive year the fund has raised more than $100,000.

“Last year re­ally made me feel good about our com­mu­nity. See­ing that

num­ber roll in says a tremen­dous amount about the giv­ing spirit of our com­mu­nity,” said Star Demo­crat Pub­lisher David Fike. Fike also is pres­i­dent of APG Me­dia of Ch­e­sa­peake, the pa­per’s owner.

The crux of the Brighter Christ­mas Fund is to make sure every child in need has a present to open over Christ­mas, Fike said, and the Mid-Shore com­mu­nity re­ally chips in to make sure that hap­pens each year.

The Brighter Christ­mas Fund’s suc­cess hasn’t been driven much by large do­na­tions ei­ther. A vast ma­jor­ity of the do­na­tions are made $30 to $40 at a time. The Star Demo­crat also do­nates all the fund’s ad­min­is­tra­tive op­er­at­ing costs.

“There’s a lot of non­prof­its in the mar­ket­place, and I en­cour­age peo­ple dur­ing this time of the year to do­nate to any­where they feel com­pelled to do­nate,” Fike said. “There is a need. Peo­ple don’t nec­es­sar­ily see it every day, but it’s there. It’s amaz­ing the sto­ries that we hear about the need in our com­mu­nity, and any­thing we can do to help the cause, we’re go­ing to try to help.”

Those wish­ing to do­nate to the fund may send con­tri­bu­tions to The Brighter Christ­mas Fund, c/o The Star

Demo­crat, P.O. Box 600, 29088 Air­park Drive, Eas­ton, MD 21601. Do­na­tions also may be made on­line at www.brighter­christ­mas­fund.org (click the do­nate but­ton).

PHOTO BY KATIE WILLIS

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives of lo­cal so­cial ser­vices de­part­ments and non­profit agen­cies whose clients are helped by the Brighter Christ­mas Fund met ear­lier this year to dis­cuss plans for the fund’s 33rd year of help­ing pro­vide toys and cloth­ing to chil­dren for Christ­mas. The fund now is ac­cept­ing ap­pli­ca­tions for chil­dren in need. The dead­line to sub­mit these ap­pli­ca­tions is Wed­nes­day, Nov. 23.

PHOTO BY KATIE WILLIS

Mem­bers of the board of di­rec­tors for The Star Demo­crat’s Brighter Christ­mas Fund re­cently met to pre­pare for the fund’s 33rd year. From left, seated: Melodie Haufe, Gwen Fike and Tracy Ber­ri­gan; stand­ing: Tim Ma­tis, John Griep, Paul Ha­good, Dave All­top, David Fike, Tony Mohan and Tim Ka­gan. Not pic­tured: Laura Am­bler and Michael Wheat­ley.

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