The Christmas season became a little brighter for some thanks to the help of Clintonville Goodfellows, and area charitable groups, churches, students, and residents.
Clintonville Goodfellows once again hosted a holiday basket distribution event in Clintonville. The event took place at Clintonville Lanes on Thursday and Friday, Dec. 18 and 19.
“We have toys donated from almost every organization, every church in the community,” said Tom Lederer, president of the Clintonville Goodfellows organization. “Manufacturers have given us toys, food, and cash.”
Donated cash was used to buy food, which was purchased at Shopko and Econofoods in Clintonville. Both companies gave the group special pricing for the food items, Lederer said.
When asked why Goodfellows hosts this event each year, Lederer said because people are in need.
“Almost 600 people will be benefiting from this event,” he said.
A day prior to the event, seventh and eighth grade students from St. Rose St. Mary’s Catholic School helped set up the toy area at Clintonville Lanes, as well as the food distribution area. This is the third year the school has participated in the event.
Part of the school’s mission includes serving others and instilling strong Christian values.
“Giving back to the families in our community who haven’t had a chance to get good gifts or have a good Christmas,” said Sydney Artz, a student at St. Rose St. Mary’s Catholic School in Clintonville, about what she enjoyed about helping.
“I knew there was a lot [of needy families], but I didn’t know there was this many,” said Emma Williquette, a student at St. Rose St. Marys Catholic School in Clintonville.
Students at St. Rose St. Mary’s Catholic School made posters for the event, asking students to donate toys.
Between the school and the church, a total of 219 toys were collected for the event.
The help of the younger generation wasn’t lost on Lederer.
“It means that the giving is going to continue from the next generation and the one that follows them,” Lederer said.
Bumps Bar of Clintonville donated various items for the event, including Green Bay Packers’ jerseys and plaques, as well as toys and gift certificates. This is the fourth straight year Bumps has donated to the event.
“It’s a great thing to do, to make sure every kid has a Merry Christmas and everybody comes through with a little something,” said Ryan Mattson of Bumps.”This year it came out better than any other year.
Mattson said he usually gives a free drink to a patron who brings in a toy to donate to the event.
“My patrons really came through this year,” Mattson said.
This year was the most successful year so far.
“We thought we did good last year until we got it all together this year,” Mattson said.
Bringing happiness to those in need during Christmas is important to Mattson.
“It means the world to me,” he said. “It’s awesome to bring a smile to their (kids’) faces because like I said, no child should go without a toy on Christmas.
The Bear Creek Lions Club donated $320 for the event.
Sharon Brauer, a member of the Bear Creek Lions Club, said instead of exchanging gifts within the club, it was decided each member would donate $5 to the event.
“We decided, let’s help the community. That’s what Lions is all about,” Brauer said.
Lederer said that money was used to buy food.
“The community has continued to amaze me in getting behind this event and servicing the people in need in the Clintonville School District area,” Lederer said. “It’s a fantastic event. Hundreds of people have had a chance to assist us for this event.”