By Keith Gushard
“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.
You can help
Meadville Sertoma Club’s annual Jimmy Moore Christmas Party newspaper sales drive is Friday and Saturday in hopes of gathering funds for the holiday gathering for underprivileged children in the Meadville area. Meadville Sertoma Club members are selling issues of The Meadville Tribune at various locations in Meadville and Saegertown. The money raised during the newspaper drive helps put together the Christmas party for children age 10 and younger.
Jimmy Moore signups
Children ages 10 and younger must be pre-registered with the Meadville Sertoma Club to attend the annual Jimmy Moore Christmas party.
Adults may sign up children for the party on Dec. 3, 4 or 5 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Meadville Sertoma Club, 14420 Baldwin St. Extension. Those signing up are asked to take their Access card if available. This year’s Jimmy Moore party is Dec. 21 at Meadville Area Senior High School.
- More information: Call the club at 333-1234.
Did you know?
Sertoma is an international service organization with its name derived from the slogan “Service to Mankind.” It has more than 13,000 members in 500 clubs in the U.S. and Canada.
Meadville Sertoma Club has some other upcoming fundraisers for its annual Jimmy Moore party.
A spaghetti dinner is scheduled Dec. 1 from noon to 5 p.m. at the club, 14420 Baldwin St. Extension. Cost is $7 for adults and $4 for children under age 10.
A Christmas auction is scheduled Dec. 8 at 1 p.m. at the club. The auction includes new items and gift certificates from local businesses as well as a large collection of toys for Christmas.
Jimmy Moore’s letter
Dear Santa Claus,
I’m Jimmy Moore. I guess you don’t know we’re awful poor, and is that the reason, Santa, why you always pass us by? The folks with money, Santa Claus, get the nicest things for Christmas. Maybe you can tell me why. I’ve never had a Christmas tree. I guess nobody thinks of me — if they do they all forget when the toys are passed about. And I guess you forget me too — the same as other people do — or maybe you don’t like me — for you always leave me out.
But I thought you were different than the other people I know. I thought sure you’d remember. I wonder what it is that I’ve done that I can’t have no Christmas fun — do you think that I’m more naughty than the richer boys? But Santa, I thought you might remember me if I would write a little note and ask you not to miss us cause we’re poor, so please now Santa, won’t you try to look me up — don’t pass me by — I’ll be looking for you, Santa.
From your old friend,
Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.