The last couple of years, I have written a column leading into Christmas asking for help for the Cheer Club. It seemed like we typically got off to a slow start and a column was needed to bring in extra gifts.
This year I did not need to write the column asking for help because all of you have been extremely generous this year and we are ahead of last year with toy donations and we have more than doubled the money donations to the Cheer Club this year.
The Kaufman Foundation gave a $5,000 donation this year, which got the Cheer Club off to a strong start. The Kaufman Foundation also put out a challenge for a second $5,000 donation if matching funds were raised through the Cheer Club. I am happy to report that it looks like the challenge has been met and the total donation from the Kaufman Foundation reached $10,000.
The challenge motivated individuals and businesses to donate knowing their contribution would be doubled because of the challenge match. I received a phone call from Clark Lambros recently. He explained to me that he grew up in Greece and he did not ever receive toys at Christmas.
He wanted to make sure that the kids in the Marquette County area received toys so Clark donated $2,000 to make sure that gifts could be purchased for all the kids in need. On Dec. 14, Clark passed away, but before he left this earth Clark showed his generosity one last time by donating to the Cheer Club. Clark did many things in his lifetime to make the Marquette area a better place to live and at the end of his life Clark wrote one final chapter by opening his heart for the kids in Marquette County by donating to the Cheer Club.
Range Bank also answered the Kaufman challenge and donated $2,000 to the Cheer Club. We also had an anonymous individual donate $1,000 to help the cause. Hickey's Bar from Ishpeming donated $3,700 from money raised during their ninth annual benefit night.
The Christmas light tour cosponsored by the Board of Light & Power, Checker Bus, The Downtown Development Authority and The Mining Journal brought in $830 in cash donations to the Cheer Club. We also received many smaller but meaningful contributions from members of the community, which helped the challenge amount reach it's goal.
Many organizations did a fantastic job this year collecting toys. Marquette Mountain, Commemorative Bucks of Michigan, the Highland Clan Motorcycle Club and the Ishpeming Rotary Club are just a few that made large donations.
We also had many other groups making the Cheer Club and the Salvation Army their choice for donations, which helped the toy count grow. Thank you to all the groups and organizations that donated. I can't list them all in this column, but all the donations large and small are appreciated.
It is also heart warming when we see young families coming in that have their own children to buy for at Christmas time, but they also take the time and spend the money to make sure less fortunate children get gifts at Christmas.
I have said in previous columns that a side benefit of the Mining Journal sponsoring the Cheer Club is that our employees are moved emotionally when they see the people of our community bringing in their donations.
Thank you all for opening your hearts and wallets to help the people of this community. The people of the Upper Peninsula are the best!
Editor's note: Jim Reevs is publoisher of The Mining Journal.