Meadville Tribune

Local News

November 12, 2013

Newspaper sales a big part of Sertoma's Jimmy Moore party fundraising

MEADVILLE — “It’s going to be tough because the economy continues to be tough,” Jack Thompson said when asked if the fundraising goal for the annual Jimmy Moore Christmas Party for underprivileged children will be reached this year.

Sponsored by the Meadville Sertoma Club, the party is for children age 10 and younger and provides lunch, an entertainment show with an appearance by Santa Claus and age-appropriate presents as well as hats and gloves for each child.

This Friday and Saturday is one of the club’s major fund drives for the party — newspaper sales. Sertoma Club members will be at various locations in the Meadville area as well as Saegertown starting around 8 a.m. each day hawking papers to raise money to offset the party’s costs.

“It costs us $20,000 to $25,000 to put on the party — depending on the number of kids,” said Thompson, Meadville Sertoma Club president. “We’ve got about $10,000 to $12,000 right now, so this is a big fundraiser for us.”

In 2012, the club served 543 children, Thompson said. The club has had as many as 900 sign up for the party to as few 400 children, he said.

“We don’t know how many we’ll have until our signups next month, but I’m expecting about 600,” Thompson said. “We don’t want to turn kids in need away.”

The Meadville Sertoma Club’s 44 members work to raise funds throughout the year with various projects, but the newspaper sales drive is one on the club’s largest.

“Without it, we don’t have the party,” Thompson said.

Fellow Sertoma Club member Tim Irwin said he enjoys taking part in the fundraising and Jimmy Moore party for a simple reason.

“You get a lot of smiling faces,” Irwin said. “That’s what it’s all about — to make kids happy.”

The origins of the annual Jimmy Moore party go back to the 1940s.

The party started in 1946 after Chief Fred Carman of Meadville Fire Department came into possession of a letter Jimmy Moore, a boy from Meadville, had sent to Santa.

The letter asked Santa whether he would be stopping at the boy’s home that year. Moore wrote that his family was poor and could not afford gifts, and he wondered if that was why Santa didn’t stop the year before.

While the actual existence of Moore himself and the authenticity of the letter was never verified, it inspired the Meadville Fire Department to sponsor a community party for children who might not otherwise have Christmas.

Over the years, groups have carried on the tradition with the Sertoma Club serving as local sponsor for the Jimmy Moore Christmas party since the mid-1960s.

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