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Town Topics Christmas Fund Announces 57th Appeal To Help Fellow Citizens

Ken Smith

What began as a simple holiday charitable appeal by the founders of this fledgling newspaper in 1947 has continued unabated each year through the best of times and the worst of times. As the paper has grown in size, so too has the size of the fund and the number of those that we are able to help.

And although in recent years we have been asked to consider changing the fund appeal's name from "Christmas" to "Holiday", the name should not obscure the long-standing mission that remains unchanged since Messrs. Dan Coyle and Donald C. Stuart, founding publishers and editors, had the foresight to write "We appeal to those Princetonians who are anxious to share the brightness of their Christmases with others less fortunate than themselves, with others whose marginal way of life forces them to live in the shadows where Christmas is just another day."

Each year Princetonians have been truly generous in response to our annual appeal. Donations range from a bag of coins with a note left anonymously at our door step to an annual lead gift of $20,000 from the J. Seward Johnson Sr. 1963 Charitable Trust. In between are the countless, but no less appreciated gifts we receive each year ranging from $25-$1,000. The fund is successful not because of one gift, but because of the collective response we receive from so many.

All administrative costs of the Christmas Fund are paid by Town Topics, thus ensuring that 100 percent of the donations are put to the charitable use for which they are intended. We are a fortunate community, but we must never forget that fortune does not touch all. The contributions we receive are used throughout the year to benefit those in need. Many who would need or desire help are too proud or reluctant to ask for help and yet their need, however temporary, is real – a home without heat or electricity, assisting with tuition payments to further an education, new clothes for a job interview, after-school and summer programs for underprivileged children, an emergency car repair, a Thanksgiving basket, a homeless animal, clothing and baby food for a newborn infant, emergency medical care – many items we take for granted in our day-to-day lives.

Last year's fund appeal raised nearly $40,000. Pleased as we are, we are reminded also that this amount is considerably less than the $80,000 we have received in previous years. And so our wish for this year is that the Holiday season will bring blessings and generosity for all who are proud to call Princeton a home and a community.

Tax-deductible contributions in the form of cash, checks, or stock may be mailed to Town Topics Christmas Fund, 4 Mercer Street, Princeton, NJ 08540. Checks should be made payable to Town Topics Christmas Fund. All contributions will be appreciatively acknowledged.

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