GENESEE COUNTY — Since 1924, Old Newsboys of Flint has worked diligently to give children in need a Christmas they’ll cherish forever.
In 2020, that mission is continuing with an added urgency in the middle of a global pandemic.
On Dec. 11, Old Newsboys will be hosting its annual newspaper drive in multiple Genesee County communities, including Flint, Linden, Flushing, Swartz Creek, Burton, Davison and Grand Blanc. Old Newsboys volunteers will be hitting the streets bright and early around 7 a.m., handing out papers to passing drivers and accepting donations until dusk.
Volunteers will also be wearing masks and gloves throughout the day to prevent any spread of COVID-19.
During last year’s paper drive, Old Newsboys of Flint raised nearly $12,000 across Genesee County for its Christmas programs. Tony Tucker, executive director for the Old Newsboys, said he hopes the fundraising totals are even higher this holiday season—given the number of families who are struggling financially because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s safe to assume that we all know someone who is in need or someone who is too proud to speak up about their situation,” he said. “We could be helping someone we know closely and not even know that they are struggling.”
Residents who purchase a paper from the drive will be contributing to the Old Newsboys’ Christmas Box program, which provides a toy and clothing for area children in need. Children who qualify for the Christmas Box program receive socks and underclothes, a hat and pair of warm gloves, dental hygiene products and a new age-appropriate gift.
Donations to the Old Newsboys will also benefit its Coat and Shoe program for elementary school children, as well as an Emergency Box program for families who have suffered a catastrophic loss from fire or other disasters.
Due to COVID-19 related restrictions, Old Newsboys was forced to cancel many of its annual fundraising events, including its traditional “Blue Christmas” fundraiser at Luigi’s Restaurant in Flint. The organization also lost its longtime executive director Chris Hamilton, who died suddenly in March.
Despite these challenges, Old Newsboys volunteers are confident that the community will come through once again with a strong fundraising effort.
“It’s amazing to see the thousands of pre-packed boxes inside our building, waiting to go out to children in need across Genesee County,” said Tucker, who succeed Hamilton as executive director this spring. “Seeing the community’s appreciation on display like that is overwhelming.”
Locals who are interested in volunteering for the paper drive can register online at onbflint.org or at the Old Newsboys of Flint headquarters on 6255 Taylor Drive in Flint.
To donate online or learn more about the Old Newsboys Christmas Box program, visit onbflint.org.