Brighter Christmas Fun aims to brighten holidays
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 34th year for The
Star Democrat‘s Brighter Christmas Fund, which has raised more than $2.7 million for local families since its inception.
For the next six weeks, The Star Democrat will publish daily stories detailing the current situation of a family, asking Mid-Shore community members for donations to distribute to local families so their children can have presents to open on Christmas.
Last year, the Brighter Christmas Fund helped 737 families with 1,651 children have a better Christmas. It was also the 13th consecutive year the fund has raised more than $100,000, something David Fike, president of APG Media of Chesapeake and publisher of The Star Democrat, said is significant given an annual sixweek fundraising window.
“The outpouring from the community is very satisfying to see,” he said. “Every year, there’s a handful of stories that really touch your heart.”
Even during poor economic times over the past five or six years, Brighter Christmas Fund’s numbers haven’t changed much, said Fike, who added that it speaks to the character of the Mid-Shore community.
“It still does surprise me when the kids in our community go home hungry and don’t eat until the next day they come to school, how many don’t have funds to be able to do the basic necessities of life, let alone have a nice Christmas and nice gifts,” he said.
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. That makes for a lot of donations from people to add up to more than $100,000.
The Star Democrat also picks up all the fund’s administrative operating costs.
“The result of that is every dollar that comes in the door goes right back out the door,” Fike said. “That’s an unusual fund. You don’t see many of those in today’s society.”
The Mid-Shore is full of charitable organizations that help those who are less fortunate. Fike urged community members that if they donate to the Brighter Christmas Fund, not to forget the other organizations in the community that work to make the holidays more special to those in need.
“I think if it’s a little thing that we can do to help the community, it’s the least we can do,” he said.
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).
Members of the board of directors for the Brighter Christmas Fund are, from left, seated, Melodie Haufe, Betsy Griffin and Tracy Berrigan; back row, Paul Hagood, Tim Matis, David Fike, Tony Mohan, Michael Wheatley and John Griep. Not pictured are Laura Ambler and Tim Kagan.