Since the 1940’s, the Canton Goodfellows have provided Christmas gifts to thousands of less fortunate children in Canton Township.
WHAT WE DO
Canton Goodfellows is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to providing Christmas gifts and clothing to children in Canton, Michigan at Christmas time. We also provide gift cards so that parents can purchase food for the holiday. We provide this assistance to families without regard to the family’s religious preference
Thanks to the support from our community, countless people volunteer their time to collect donations, sponsor children, sort through gift bags, and help us as our families pick up their gift bags.
Here’s what one parent who received assistance for their children had to say:
Thanks for making my kids so happy. Seeing the smiles on their faces, these are the moments that live forever in our minds.
Thanks Canton Goodfellows for the memories!
Over the years, we’ve helped Canton families with children enjoy Christmas. With your support, we can help even more!
HOW “NO CHILD WITHOUT A CHRISTMAS” WORKS
Each year in September, applications are available to Canton families wanting to get assistance for their children at Christmas. Submitted forms are screened based on the current year’s Michigan Dept of Health & Human Services (MDHHS) Emergency Relief family income guidelines, among other qualifications.
Children are sponsored by community members who purchase new clothing and toys for the child. Over the years, we’ve been fortunate to have many individuals and organizations sponsor several children.
Using money raised through fundraisers and donations, we purchase any clothing or toys not supplied by our sponsors. We also purchase food gift cards for each family for the holiday season.
In early December, our Work Week brings dozens of volunteers together to sort and prepare the clothing, toys, gifts, and food for pickup by our families.
Since gifts are left unwrapped (so that parents can see what was bought for their children), we provide holiday wrapping paper and tape.
Our Board Members are elected each year during our Annual Meeting in March.
- President: Natalie Anderson-Theisen
- Vice President: Nila Patel
- Treasurer: Michael Theisen
- Director: Kal Hakkani
- Director: Kelli Lauria
- Director: John Spencer
The Canton Goodfellows meetings are held in the Canton Municipal Building, 1105 Canton Canter Rd, at 7:00 PM in Room C (Lower Level).
You are more than welcome to join us, in order to find out more about our organization! We are always looking for new members who are willing to help in implementing new ideas.
- ZOOM March date TBD (Annual Meeting)
- Other ZOOM Meetings TBD
In compliance with the Canton Goodfellows Bylaws, our fiscal year begins on April 1 and ends on March 31.
Our 2020 Campaign Financial Report for April 1, 2020 – March 31, 2021 indicates that
- 96% of our expenditures went toward our “No Child Without a Christmas” Program
- less than 1% ($82.25) went toward Fundraising
- 3% went toward Supplies, Dues, Fees, and Board Insurance.
All of our Canton Goodfellows Members, including those on the Board, are unpaid volunteers.
For over 70 years, Canton Goodfellows has provided help and support for community members.
The group got its start in the 1940’s when Canton residents Edward Hauk and Robert Waldecker, who volunteered with Plymouth Goodfellows, decided to start Canton Goodfellows.
In the early years, the two men would go door-to-door, asking for donations for Canton residents in need.
A Canton Goodfellows paper was printed in 1954 and sold for donations. Money raised through the paper sales was used to support the Goodfellows goal of “No Child Without a Christmas.”
Today, many people in Canton know of the Goodfellows work through Nancy Spencer, who began volunteering with Canton Goodfellows in the mid-1980’s.
She and Ruth Wiles, who served as secretary, organized the annual paper sale which became Canton Goodfellows main source of money.
Families would receive food boxes and clothing vouchers they could use at the K-Mart store (now replaced by Kohl’s), located at Ford and Sheldon.
In the 1990’s Nancy became president of Canton Goodfellows, a position she held until she died in 2012. She reached out to many members of the community, businesses, and public schools as she recruited volunteers to help the program grow.
To help with gifts for the children, she started the adopt-a-child program, which is now our sponsor a child program.
In 2013 John Spencer, Nancy’s husband, was voted in as president. He remained in the position until March of 2018, when he decided it was time to pass the leadership on to other Canton Goodfellows members.