Brighter Christ­mas Fun aims to brighten hol­i­days

Sunday Star - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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