FLINT, Michigan — The Old Newsboys were able to help 6,035 children have a happy holiday season this year, continuing the tradition that has helped hundreds of thousands of families for 95 years.
Founded in 1924, Old Newsboys operates throughout the entire year with three programs to serve the areas youth. They are best known, though, for their Christmas Boxes given out to children in low-income families.
It takes a strong network of volunteers, community partners, and donors, Executive Director Chris Hamilton said. For generations, Old Newsboys has been a reliable source of joy for families that otherwise would come up short, he said. Old Newsboys has helped more than 818,000 children since it began.
“With the support of the community we’re making a difference, one child at a time,” Hamilton said.
The Christmas Boxes are available for low-income families, families that utilize the free lunch program within Genesee County schools, and families that face certain special circumstances and hardships. Young people are registered throughout November and into late December to guarantee they will get their boxes filled with a sweatsuit, two pairs of socks and underwear, a hat and pair of gloves, dental hygiene goods, and gift based on their age. The boxes are available to newborns all the way up to high school students.
While many people only know the Old Newsboys because of their work at the holidays — and the visibility of their annual newspaper sale — they are truly working throughout the year to support Genesee County children.
Old Newsboys also offers the Coat and Shoe Program for kindergarteners through sixth graders in Genesee County. The program provides new shoes and costs through partnerships with Complete Runner and local department stores. Families are chosen for the Coat and Shoe program through a school referral program and are contacted if they are chosen to participate.
Old Newsboys also operates an Emergency Box Program, which is offered primarily in cases of fire or severe emergency. The boxes are filled with basic necessities.
The organization has even been able to secure a partnership with the Durand Eagles to stretch its reach out to the Durand community as well.
“People never forget when they were given help from Old Newsboys at Christmas time, they always give back,” Hamilton said.