FLINT – The Old Newsboys of Flint got a jump start on the 2018 holiday season thanks to Financial Plus Credit Union and the Swartz Creek Area Chamber of Commerce.
Tuesday, Jan. 2, representatives from the credit union and the chamber presented the Old Newsboys with a check for $2,593 – the proceeds from the 13th annual Whatchamacallit business networking breakfast.
The funds came from sales of raffle tickets for gift baskets that chamber members donated, as well as T-shirts and other donations.
“We, at the Chamber, appreciate the partnership we have with Financial Plus,” said chamber board member Debra Hackett. “The holidays and the kids, that’s what it’s all about. There is no more important effort than to make sure the children are fed and kept warm, and they have a little something under the tree on Christmas morning.”
“This event (Whatchamacallit) is so important to us,” added Jill Reno, president and CEO of Financial Plus. “It brings people together for the holidays and raises money for a great cause, to make sure no child is forgotten on Christmas, and throughout the year.”
The Old Newsboys helped more than 6,000 area families in 2017, and more than 806,000 since the benevolent organization began in 1924, said Chris Hamilton, executive director of the charity whose motto is “Let No Child Be Forgotten.”
“This means a great deal to us,” said Hamilton. “We are very grateful to Financial Plus and the chamber, as well as the many chambers we belong to, for all of their efforts. We couldn’t do it without them.”
While many charitable groups fearing the effect of new tax laws on donations, Hamilton remains optimistic.
“I haven’t had a chance to digest the new tax laws yet, but I don’t think it will hurt Old Newsboys,” he said. “The Sponsor A Child program … people give out of the kindness of their hearts. Also, we’ve touched many different generations of families. There will always be people who were helped as children and who never forgot.”
Through the Sponsor A Child program, a $20 donation provides a sweat suit, underwear and socks, hats and gloves, dental hygiene products and an age-appropriate gift for needy children from newborns to high schoolers.
“Quite a few years ago, we could do it for $20,” said Hamilton. “We can’t anymore.”
The $20 sponsorship remains, however, for simplicity; the difference is made up through other means.
The Old Newsboys has multiple fundraisers, including a Valentine’s Day gala, a golf outing and a bowling tournament, and the popular paper sales that take place the second Friday in December at street corners throughout the county.
Besides providing Christmas packages, the Old Newsboys also run a coat and shoe program throughout the year.