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Posted: 12/04/13

NO CHILD WITHOUT A CHRISTMAS. At left, the Romeo Goodfellows is holding its annual fundraiser to provide for local families. Volunteers with the Romeo and Washington Goodfellows will sell special editions of The Romeo Observer on Dec. 6 and 7 for donations throughout the local area. Above, from left: Tom Keliher, Craig Bryant, Debbie Obrecht, Anna Hansen, Trudy Dodson, Christina Muir, Donna Aul, Elaine Roberson and Emilia. Not pictured is Debbie Majchrzak.

(Observer photo by Chris Gray)

Local Goodfellows seek
donations, volunteers

Observer Staff Writer

      It takes a few good fellows and ladies to bring cheer to local families during the holidays.
       The Romeo and Washington Goodfellows are holding their major fundraiser this weekend with the goal of fulfilling its mantra of "no child without a Christmas."
       Goodfellows volunteers will hit the streets and businesses to hand out special mock editions of The Romeo Observer in exchange for donations. Volunteers will be out Dec. 6 and 7.
       Both the Romeo and Washington Goodfellows use the paper sales as their only fundraiser, though donations can be submitted to the groups at any time of the year.
       Donations are used to provide food vouchers to families for local stores like Sheena's Marketplace and Meijer. The Sheena vouchers cannot be used for purchasing cigarettes or alcohol.
       To ensure donations are properly used, the Goodfellows receive client recommendations through local organizations like the Samaritan House or the Agape Center that assist individuals and families in the community.
       Tom Keliher, Romeo Goodfellows president, said his group took care of 182 families last year, which translates into 272 adults and 407 children. He said he expects around 200 to be assisted this year through the Romeo Goodfellows.
       "We are servicing needs the best we can financially," he said. "The biggest concern is there are more requests."
       He said the Romeo Goodfellows also provide rent and utility assistance for residents, especially around the holidays when organizations like Samaritan House close down until the new year.
       "I can't emphasize enough that we're not just a one-time group, we're here all-year round to assist with any type of emergency," he said. "We service the whole community, that is what is so unique about us."
       Stan Babinski, president of the Washington Goodfellows, said they will likely serve more than 300 families this year, a huge jump from last year's total of 130.
       "We'll be out in front of local businesses and street corners to help raise money for those that haven't rebounded from the economy yet and provide a better holiday season," Babinski said.
       He said Meijer is once again donating $1,000 to the cause to help supplement the Goodfellows in supporting families.
       With the paper sale being the only fundraiser, both groups are asking anyone who is willing and able to donate time to the cause to volunteer selling papers. In Romeo, the locations range from the Romeo Post Office, Taco Bell and Romeo Family Restaurant to intersections like 31 Mile Road and Van Dyke.
       For the Washington Goodfellows, volunteers can sell at locations like major intersections along Van Dyke and gas stations.
       "It's all on a volunteer basis, so hopefully people can come out and spend a little bit of time so others can have a more enjoyable time this holiday season," Babinski said.
       Romeo Goodfellows volunteers can show up at the First Congregational Church at 102 Church Street. For more information, call (586) 336-9640.
       Volunteers wishing to help the Washington Goodfellows can go to the Washington Lions Club at 58000 Van Dyke prior to their start time. For more information, call (586) 786-9900.
       Those that wish to give monetary donations outside of the paper sales can use a cut-out voucher on the back of the special Observer. Checks can be made out to the Romeo Goodfellows and sent to P.O. box 332 Romeo MI 48065.
       Donations to the Washington Goodfellows can be sent to 11156 Millpond Lane, Washington, MI 48094.

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Retrieved 7/30/2015 at 8:08:30 AM.
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