Mayor’s Christmas fund helps fill Eudora needs
After about a dozen years spent organizing the Mayor's Christmas Tree Fund, a charity for Eudorans in need, volunteer Richard Campbell has pretty much got the job down pat. He does admit to picking up a few things along the way.
"You kind of learn as you go," Campbell said.
Organizers help fill the boxes that will go to about 40 Eudora families this year.
One year, Campbell said a woman told him it would take her a month to eat a whole turkey, but he didn't mind.
"That's how you learn about people's needs," he said.
The boxes provide food items as well as gift certificates, which are for Wal-Mart this year.
Campbell worked on the project for several years until former mayor Fred Stewart took over for four years during his tenure. During that time, Stewart provided each elementary school child with a small gift basket as well as the usual gifts for those in need. But this year, Campbell said the group plans to refocus on people in need.
From his stint running the operation, Stewart left this year's organizers with a nice reserve in the account, Campbell said.
"But after this year we're going to be spending way more than we collect this year, and use up most of that surplus," he said.
Collections this year are way down, Campbell said. The organization at times has brought in about $4,000 from local businesses and members of the community. Campbell said he thought the reason for fewer contributions might be because people knew about the money available on reserve.
"Next year we hope everything is back on track," he said.
Donations can be taken to Kaw Valley Bank or Eudora City Hall, even after the holidays. The Mayor's Christmas Tree Fund accepts donations throughout the year.
The great thing about supporting the fund, Campbell said, is knowing the money will stay local.
"We make sure we only help people in Eudora," he said.
Furthermore, when people donate to some organizations, 50 percent may go to administration. Not so with the fund: All of the people running the operation are volunteers.
"I want things to happen in my town," Campbell said.
When volunteers get together to put the boxes together, as they did last Friday, the fun really begins.
"It really goes pretty smooth," Campbell said. "It makes you feel good on distribution day to have the people thank you for this stuff.
Campbell said he is thankful for the people in Eudora who make the operation successful.
"I want to thank everyone who donates time and effort to help us," he said. "There's just too many, and I'm afraid I'd miss somebody. The ones that give know who they are."