Brighter Christmas Fund brings cheer to Shore families
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 gotten 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.”