Every year, The Mining Journal editorial board asks the central Upper Peninsula for help in supporting the annual Christmas Cheer Club. This year is no different, except the need is even greater than usual.
The 35th annual Cheer Club launched, as it does every year, the day after Thanksgiving. Working with the Ishpeming and Marquette Salvation Army offices, this newspaper will help spread the word that Christmas is right around the corner and gifts and money to purchase new gifts are badly needed.
People can drop off items at either The Mining Journal's downtown Marquette or Ishpeming office or at the Marquette and Ishpeming Salvation Army posts. Donations also are accepted at the Marquette Township Hall, Ace Hardware in Gwinn and Bell Hospital in Ishpeming.
The drop-off deadline is Dec. 20. The Salvation Army picks up the items periodically from these sites and then distributes them from its offices. Recipients pick up the gifts, which are sorted into age groups, on a first-come, first-served basis.
Last year, the Cheer Club served 786 families for a total of 3,414 people in Marquette County. By all accounts, the need this year is even greater. Monetary donations to the Salvation Army also are accepted - and much appreciated - as the organization is about $500,000 in the hole.
As Christmas grows nearer, look for continuing front page coverage of the Cheer Club, daily reminders that everyone deserves a happy holiday. The Cheer Club is one way to help make that happen for the neediest among us.