Goodfellow Fund returns to providing clothes for children

The Goodfellow Fund provides $50 gift cards to low-income families. Adriana believes in angels. She


The Goodfellow Fund provides $50 gift cards to low-income families.

Adriana believes in angels. She also knows they’re good fellows.

”Thank you for considering our family, for giving us help and for always being an angel of help to all those who make this beautiful cause possible,” she wrote in a letter to the Goodfellow Fund, part of Star-Telegram Charities, Inc.

Adriana and many others have turned to the Goodfellow Fund for well over a century to help make the holidays better — to make life better. And this holiday season is no different.

Thanks to the Goodfellow Fund, Christmas in the Fort Worth area has, since 1912, given folks a chance to help their neighbors. The charity that started out providing food and firewood to less fortunate families has evolved over its history to help in a variety of ways.

The story on the Goodfellows website describes its beginning as an offshoot of the first newspaper charity drive in the United States, started by the Chicago Tribune on Dec. 10, 1909. A Chicago city attorney wrote a letter challenging his friends to donate the money they would have spent on holiday partying to charity.

A couple of years later, the Advertising Club of Fort Worth staged the first local Goodfellows campaign. On the day after Thanksgiving in 1912, Publisher Amon G. Carter brought the tradition to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Now, the charity provides new clothes for the holiday season.

New clothes are always spark of positivity and confidence, especially for children. Often, children from families in need feel left out when their classmates show up to school in the latest popular clothing.

And, of course, there’s the simple fact that new, warm clothes and shoes can mean the difference between a cold and frigid winter and feeling toasty warm — from the clothes and the knowledge that someone cares.

The goal of the Goodfellow Fund is to provide $50 gift cards for shoes and clothing for 12,000 needy Tarrant County school children. It is a return to what it has done for years after last year’s assistance took a different turn because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite the pandemic, 2020 was nonetheless a successful holiday campaign.

Last year, the Goodfellow Fund exceeded its $730,000 goal by $54,000. The Goodfellow Fund partnered with the Tarrant County Food Bank in providing a holiday meal to 5,000 Tarrant County families.

The Goodfellow Fund couldn’t do it without its donors and volunteers, said Goodfellows executive director Richard Greene.

“The success of the campaign depends on generous readers. And we hope the fund will do at least as well this year as last,” he said.

“Thanks to the volunteers. We absolutely could not provide this help without the over 100 trained volunteers that will contribute thousands of hours conducting a personal interview with each family to ensure the family is qualified as to identification, residence, income and number of children in school.”

How to apply for Goodfellow Fund

Many of those volunteers will be at work conducting qualifying interviews for the Goodfellow Fund through Dec. 2. To apply, visit Applicants will need the following:

  • Driver’s license number, state or country ID, alien ID, or I-94 card.
  • Proof of residence in Tarrant County. The current address of your home or apartment. Your qualifying letter will be sent to this address. Please enter it carefully.
  • Proof of income for entire family. This includes any of the following that apply to you and/or members of your family: Your prior year’s income tax or IRS tax form 1040, or paycheck stubs, or a letter from your employer stating your salary, or your current award letter(s) from TANF, SNAP food stamps, unemployment, child support, SSI/SSDI, and/or documentation of any other additional income/benefits you receive. Total family income must be less than 125% of the federal poverty income guidelines.
  • Child’s age. There must be at least one child in the household between 4 and 16 who is attending a Tarrant County school, born between June 1, 2005 through Sept. 1, 2017.
  • Enrollment in school. Enter your child’s unique school identification number. This may found on a current report card or a dated letter from the school verifying that the child is enrolled. Category of home-school is also acceptable.

Though this year the fund is receiving applications at a slower pace than previous years, each season the number of requests received for assistance exceeds the amount donated by the community. Applications will be accepted and processed until that limit is reached.

So, in other words, don’t hesitate.

This year, Old Navy gift cards will be provided. Greene noted that some wrap the treasures and put them under trees so the kids have presents to open Christmas morning, while others let the children wear their new clothes to school as soon as they’re purchased.

Either way, it makes for a warmer and happier holiday season.

Community organizations play a key role in the annual success of the Goodfellow Fund, Greene said. The Exchange Club of Fort Worth historically leads the way with a luncheon that generates donation totals such as last year’s nearly $300,000.

“I’d want to thank area charitable foundations, civic clubs, neighborhood associations, churches and social service agencies, and our entire community that continue the 109-year legacy in supporting the Goodfellow Fund with thousands of donations,” Greene said.

This season the Goodfellow Fund has seen an increase in Middle Eastern applicants and needs for Arabic speaking volunteers. Volunteer information can be found on the website.