Brighter Christ­mas Fund brings cheer to Shore fam­i­lies

Dorchester Star - - Front Page - By CON­NIE CONNOLLY cconnolly@ches­pub.com

EASTON — For the 13th con­sec­u­tive year, The Star

Demo­crat’s Brighter Christ­mas Fund has raised more than $100,000 for Mid-Shore chil­dren.

The 33rd an­nual Brighter Christ­mas Fund’s main fo­cus was to help Santa pro­vide chil­dren in need presents to open dur­ing the Christ­mas sea­son.

“We gave more dol­lars per child than we’ve ever given, in an econ­omy in which the cost of toys keeps ris­ing,” said David Fike, Star Demo­crat pub­lisher and pres­i­dent of APG Me­dia of Ch­e­sa­peake, the news­pa­per’s owner.

Open­ing their hearts and wal­lets were 1,055 bene­fac­tors, who gave an av­er­age mon­e­tar y do­na­tion of $100.

“It’s ex­cit­ing to have got- ten more donors than ever be­fore,” Fike said.

The 2016 Brighter Christ­mas Fund raised $116,085 to help 714 fam­i­lies with 1,602 chil­dren.

“I’m re­ally im­pressed,” Fike said. “It says a lot about the com­mu­nity’s giv­ing spirit and their trust in us to man­age their do­na­tions.”

The Star Demo­crat do­nates all the fund’s ad­min­is­tra­tive op­er­at­ing costs. The staff who man­aged the fund “re­ally did a great job,” Fike said.

The Star Demo­crat part­nered with county so­cial ser­vices agen­cies, which did an “out­stand­ing job vet­ting

lists of ap­pli­cants in a timely man­ner,” Fike said. “I can’t thank them enough.”

From Thanks­giv­ing through the be­gin­ning of Jan­uar y, The Star Demo­crat pub­lished sto­ries daily about fam­i­lies in Tal­bot, Caro­line, Dorch­ester, Queen Anne’s and Kent coun­ties who were strug­gling to pro­vide a Christ­mas for their chil­dren.

Look­ing to­ward the 2017 Brighter Christ­mas Fund, Fike has two ob­jec­tives.

“I would like to see us con­tinue the 13-year streak of col­lect­ing over $100,000 in do­na­tions,” Fike said. “And I would like to see an in­crease in do­na­tions from all of the Mid-Shore coun­ties whose chil­dren ben­e­fit from the fund.”

“I loved see­ing the cre­ative gen­eros­ity on the part of peo­ple who get ex­cited about rais­ing Brighter Christ­mas funds,” Fike said. If or­ga­ni­za­tions or busi­nesses keep the fund in the back of their minds for the com­ing year, “we would be more than happy to sup­port and pub­li­cize their ef­forts,” he said.

“I’ve been a part of the Brighter Christ­mas Fund for 20 years,” Fike said. “It’s been quite an honor to see it grow and ex­pand to help fam­i­lies in need.”

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