Livonia Goodfellows Part of the Greater Good in the Region
November 29, 2018
Siblings Tulsi and Mukumd appeared apprehensive on a recent Saturday morning. The brother and sister were with their parents at the Livonia Senior Citizens Center, where initial interviews for holiday assistance were being held by the Livonia Goodfellows.
Livonia Goodfellows President Jodee Hall says that the financial woes of the parents need not be concerns for the children. In order for that to be the case, the Livonia Youth Commission, a civic organization which advocates for the needs of the city's youth, hosted a Holiday Party to entertain the children while their parents were being interviewed by Goodfellows volunteers regarding food and gift assistance for Christmas. Youth volunteers from local middle and high schools helped the children at making holiday crafts, playing games and face painting. A complimentary kiddie-style breakfast was provided. Tulsi and Mukumd became comfortable with the other children at the party and even enjoyed a visit with Santa Claus.
Hall says the party enables the parents to complete their request for assistance, keeping the details about family finances where it belongs: with the adults. Those applying for Christmas assistance are required to bring documentation to confirm residency, family size, and financial status. Halls says with help from the Goodfellows, parents area able to provide toys and a holiday meal. "The kids think it's Santa," says Hall, "which is what we want."
Livonia Goodfellows provides applications for assistance to local schools where teachers are frequently the ones who know which families would benefit from the assistance. Applicants are interviewed by volunteers and when approved, can receive vouchers for clothing from Kohl's or Sears, canned goods, toys, and gift cards from local supermarkets. Donation boxes for canned goods and toys are set up at various locations throughout the city, such as libraries, banks and city hall.
Livonia Goodfellows also operates an "adopt-a-family" program. Families are adopted either by an individual or an organization, which can potentially give more to a needy family beyond what Goodfellows can. "We're really fortunate that we have a really good, supportive community here that really, really supports what we do," says Hall.
Hall emphasizes that the organization is volunteer-driven. Volunteers donate their time as they are able to distribute and collect applications, conduct interviews, set up donation boxes, collect donations, pack food
boxes, organize toys, and other office-related tasks. Hall explains that each Goodfellows agency operates within its city and has its own way of operating. While there are thousands in operation throughout the country, each functions independently.