(Crystal A. Proxmire, 12/05/2011)
“When I was a freshman in high school, the Goodfellows did our Christmas. The Ferndale Police brought food and gifts to the house. We didn’t have much money and we wouldn’t have had those things that year if it wasn’t for them. From then on my family donated every year, and now I do this,” said the chipper volunteer collecting money in the moonshine jug as part of the End of Prohibition Party on Dec. 3, 2011. The woman, who did not want to be identified, never forgot the Winter of 1959 or the warmth the Goodfellows brought to her home.
She and a dozen other volunteers hit the Ferndale bars for a night of fun and fundraising, with The End of Prohibition Party as the theme. This annual event was created by Monica and Larry Mills, a local couple with a love of history who wanted to celebrate both Ferndale Goodfellow’s tradition of giving and the re-legalization of drinking alcohol in America 78 years ago.
Volunteers dressed in traditional 1920s and 30s garb, such as flapper dresses, gangster suits, or the old fashioned paperboy looks. They staked out bars and hit up patrons for donations. Participating bars were Tony’s, New Way Bar, Valentine Vodka, Howe’s Bayou, Danny’s and Sneakers. The amount of money collected has not yet been announced, but patrons had fun talking with the dressed-up volunteers, holding the toy tommy-guns they wielded, and stuffing money in the moonshine jugs.
The money goes to help The Ferndale Goodfellows provide Christmas basics for families in need. The Ferndale Police and Ferndale Fire Departments collect names of needy families and their situation is verified by investigation. They also collect donations, which fund the gifts.
Another volunteer who chose not to give her name talked about growing up in small town Ohio where a single pottery factory meant jobs for everyone. “Everyone worked and they even bussed people in from other towns to work. The factory ran 24/7 so there were always people up and working. The town didn’t sleep and there really was no need. I never knew what poverty was until I left Ohio,” she said. “Now I see people in need and I’m sensitive to it. I want to help.”
Those who did not make it out to the End of Prohibition Party can still help the Goodfellows Online Paper Drive. Donate what you can through the Paypal button below to help needy local families.
To read a more thorough history of the organization, check out our previous article.