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Posted: 11/28/12

GOODFELLOWS, GOOD CAUSE. The Romeo Goodfellows will hold its annual fundraiser to ensure no child is without a Christmas. Volunteers with the Romeo Goodfellows and the Washington Goodfellows will sell special editions of The Romeo Observer on Friday, Nov. 30 and Saturday, Dec. 1 for donations. Above, from left: Elaine Roberson, Anna Hansen, Tom Keliher, Christina Muir, Craig Bryant, Debbie Obrecht, Trudy Dodson and Debbie Majchrzak.

(Observer photo by Chris Gray)

Goodfellows hold annual
fundraiser Nov. 30, Dec. 1

Observer Staff Writer

      The Goodfellows are seeking help from the community to provide assistance to local families this holiday season.
       In keeping with the motto of "no child left without a Christmas," the Romeo and Washington Goodfellows are holding their only fundraisers of the year to ensure families in need of help receive it during the holidays.
       The Goodfellows and volunteers will hit the streets from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 30 and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1 to sell special joke editions of The Romeo Observer for whatever people wish to donate.
       Last year, the Romeo Goodfellows helped more than 140 families. Tom Keliher, president of the Romeo Goodfellows, said the sad truth is that needs in the area are continuing to grow.
       "We're actually seeing people that used to give are actually receiving," he said.
       He said despite being a year-round group, the Goodfellows are especially busy during the end of the year when other non-profit services close for the holidays. Keliher said they take on seven to 17 calls in that two-week period, assisting with everything from rent assistance and furnace repairs to providing gifts for families.
       "We're just not a Christmas-time organization, we're year-round, but I think our biggest role is filling that gap when everything else has shut down," he said.
       Proceeds from the Romeo fundraiser are used for vouchers that are given to the families. The vouchers cannot be used for alcohol or tobacco products, and cannot be redeemed for cash.
       Keliher said the main source of the Goodfellows' success is the amount of volunteers that help during the paper sales. Although some volunteers sell papers in the middle of busy streets, he said there are secure locations at local businesses that people can request.
       "Bring your friends or your family to participate in making someone else's Christmas a little easier and brighter," Keliher said.
       The Romeo Goodfellows sell papers and collect donations at these locations: The Romeo Post Office; the Bruce-Romeo Fire Department; Sheena's Marketplace; Romeo Family Restaurant; Art and Jake's; Taco Bell and 31 Mile Road and Van Dyke.
       To assist the Romeo Goodfellows, volunteers can show up at the First Congregational Church at 102 Church Street. For more information, call (586) 336-9640.
       Washington Goodfellows
       The Washington Goodfellows are also seeking volunteers to help with their paper sales. Stan Babinski, president of the Washington Goodfellows, said the group assisted 130 families last year with the money it raised.
       "We'll welcome anyone that wants to help, even if it's for an hour or two or if they want a full day," he said.
       Similar to the Romeo Goodfellows, the Washington Goodfellows use their proceeds to buy gift cards for Meijer that the families can use. Babinski said Meijer donated $1,000 to the program last year.
       "We just want to help others during the holidays," he said.
       The Goodfellows will sell papers at the same time and days as their Romeo counterparts.
       The Washington Goodfellows collect donations at the following locations: The Mobil gas station on Van Dyke north of 29 Mile Road; Kroger on Van Dyke; 28 Mile Road and Van Dyke; 28 Mile Road and Campground; 26 Mile Road and Van Dyke; West Road and Van Dyke and the Speedway gas station on 26 Mile Road and Van Dyke.
       To help the Washington Goodfellows, volunteers can go to the Washington Lions Club at 58000 Van Dyke 15 minutes prior to their start time. For more information, call (586) 786-9900.

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