Though it’s only September, it’s never too early to start thinking about Christmas.
OK, that’s not entirely true. Maybe it’s too early in, say, March or even April. But it’s also fair to admit to thinking wistfully about chilly nights, the blinking lights of the tree and the pending arrival of Santa Claus when Hampton Roads suffered through that brutal heatwave in July.
Christmas is the season of giving — a mission that both The Virginian-Pilot and Daily Press take quite seriously. It’s why both newspapers have for years organized fund-raising drives centered around the holiday.
For the Daily Press, that campaign was known as the Holiday Fund. Established in 1929, the fund depended on the generosity of Peninsula residents and businesses, and distributed the donations to area non-profits doing exceptional and important work in the community.
For The Pilot, the Joy Fund has been a staple of the Christmas season since its creation during the Great Depression. Money collected from the community was used to purchase toys for low-income families throughout south Hampton Roads to make certain that every child has something under the tree on Christmas morning.
Tribune Publishing’s purchase of The Pilot in 2018 saw the two newspapers come under the same ownership and management. While that did not immediately affect the operation of the two separate, but similar, holiday campaigns, that’s changed in the last year.
Now the two efforts will be consolidated under the banner of The Joy Fund Foundation, but with an expanded mission. Here’s what that means.
Donations to the foundation will help make spirits bright throughout Hampton Roads, purchasing toys for disadvantaged children and supporting programs that help families in need during the holidays.
Ferguson Enterprises, the Newport News company that is the nation’s largest plumbing supplies distributor, was a valued partner for the Holiday Fund and will continue its support under the new arrangement. As in the past, The Salvation Army will distribute toys through its Christmas Depot.
Each year, the Joy Fund provides presents for about 12,000 area children. More than 1 million kids have received toys through this initiative since it began in 1934. It’s remarkable that what began as a modest effort to help a young mother in Ocean View has grown into something that’s made a better Christmas for so many children in our area.
But delivering on this promise, and making a difference in these young lives, requires your help.
When making a plan for Christmas — again, never too early to do so — please include The Joy Fund Foundation in your consideration.
Donations can be made at The JoyFund.org using a credit card, and the online portal provides an opportunity for employers to match that donation. Businesses that wish to help can do so by contacting Joy Fund Foundation President Mark Quan at email@example.com and (757) 222-5495.
Those who prefer to donate by check can make them payable to “The Joy Fund Foundation.” Peninsula residents can mail them to The Salvation Army, c/o The Joy Fund Foundation, P.O. Box 7529, Hampton, VA 23666. Southside residents to The Joy Fund Foundation, P.O. Box 2136, Norfolk, VA 23501.
We all know what a difficult year it’s been. Tens of thousands of Virginians found themselves jobless as the coronavirus caused chaos in the commonwealth economy. Many families were forced to cut expenses or dip into savings to pay the rent or put food on the table.
To say it’s a tough year to ask for donations is an understatement, especially when so many non-profit organizations and causes are competing for the same dollars. But the economic turmoil also underscores the depth of need here, and the value of the Joy Fund.
If it’s not too early to think about Christmas (and it’s not!) then it’s the right time to donate to the Joy Fund and help our less fortunate neighbors this holiday season.
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