|2017 Donation Totals:
2017 Donation Goal: $200,000.00
2017 Total To Date: $203,167.96
Amount Over Goal: $3,167.96
Amount Still Needed: $0.00
Today's Total: $10,000.00
HistoryArianna VanDoorn founded the Santa Claus Girls in the year 1908. She was the Assistant to the pastor of Park Congregational Church. Miss VanDoorn and others in the church wanted to do something to provide cheer for those boys and girls who, due to unfortunate circumstances, would not be receiving any gifts at Christmas time. She talked to the late Arthur H. VandenBerg (Senator), then editor of the Grand Rapids Herald. He agreed to sponsor the Santa Claus Girls.
Miss VanDoorn and other Sunday school teachers of the church took over the project and collected $85.00 to take care of 150 boys and girls. In the year of 1945 the Alpha women's clubs took over the operation and it became the project of the Grand Rapids Federation of Women's Clubs.
In the year 1959 the Grand Rapids Herald suspended it's operations and the Grand Rapids Press, in cooperation with the Grand Rapids Federation of Women's Clubs carried on the work.
It has been the goal of the Santa Claus Girls to see that no child in Kent County is without a gift on Christmas morning. The girls take care of children 1 year to 12 years of age. Each child is provided with one new piece of clothing, one new toy, a new book and hats and mittens. The total value of the gift is about $25.00.
The Family Independent Agency, the schools and churches provide names of families needing help to the Santa Claus Girls. Many names are also received over the telephone.
In 2007, 11,721 children received presents from 4,732 families. In 2004, 9,994 children received gifts from 4,162 families. In the year 2003, over 11,000 children were given gifts. This total of children was from 4,500 families. We had an increase of 854 children and 400 families from 2002.
The Santa Claus Girls do not solicit for money in any way. Buying is done throughout the year with funds contributed by generous newspaper readers from the past year. The contributor's names are then published in the paper. We also have many people who sew quilts for dolls and knit and crochet hats and mittens.
The Santa Claus Girls do not have any person that is paid. Every person that offers his or her time is a volunteer. The Grand Rapids Press is the treasurer for the Santa Claus Girls and ensures that all money is handled properly. We are audited at the end of the season. 97 cents of each dollar goes towards purchasing gifts for the children.
All the gifts for the children are wrapped and then put in plastic bags to be placed in the proper area for delivery. In order to make this a success, about 325 drivers are needed to deliver on Saturday, December 20th. With the help of the Y's Men and the volunteer drivers this gigantic task of delivery is done very smoothly.
Sponsored by the Grand Rapids Press
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