The Cheer Fund began in 1911 by James Caskey,
publisher of the Greensburg Daily News. Mr. Caskey
passed away in 1915, with his wife Mabel carrying on in his name
until 1918. When the United States became involved in World War
One in 1918, it is believed that the Cheer Fund was inactive for
two years during the Great Depression.
Walter Lowe became editor in 1947, and had
strong feelings for the community in which he served and for
Christmas. Mr. Lowe is known for paving the way that put the
real meaning of Christmas in our community. Until 1964,
The Cheer Fund was for Greensburg residents only, but Walter
insisted it be expanded into the county as well.
In the early years, money was tight and so
was the budget for the Cheer Fund. In 1968 records
indicate we assisted 42 families in the county and 46 in
Greensburg. In the past the Cheer Fund furnished clothing , but
changed to gift certificates in the early 70’s. Memorable years
in packing boxes include giving blankets for families without
heat in a year that was very, very cold. Another year a young
man brought in his large toy collection to be included at the last minute.
Today, the Cheer Fund assists children and families at Christmas
by furnishing toys, clothing certificates, toiletries and food for their holiday meal.
Support has grown over the years, with a goal
of $5,000 in 1974, $20,000 in 1989, when 223 families were
helped. In 2012, the Cheer Fund raised $48,000 and
assisted 830 children and 319 Decatur County families.
Volunteers begin planning for the next year
in early spring, and the momentum continues throughout the year,
culminating with volunteer drivers arriving early to assist in
the delivery of packages on Christmas Eve Day. It’s an exciting
time for all involved, with volunteers experiencing the true
Spirit of Christmas.
In keeping with available technology,
families may now apply online or via applications in the Daily
News, and are screened by a committee to determine each family’s
needs. A list of approved families and children is shared among
other supportive organizations to avoid duplication, and to
ensure that all eligible families receive the help they need.
The Daily News Cheer Fund could not survive
without the generosity of its volunteers, and individuals who
give their time, energy and love to make children’s holidays
brighter. Businesses and organizations are an important part of
our success, and it couldn’t be done without their and your
The year 2011 was the 100th
anniversary of the Daily News Cheer Fund, and was a huge
celebration of people helping people, and caring for their
neighbors. James Caskey, his wife Mabel, Walter Lowe, and all
others that have passed on before us are sure to be proud of The
Daily News Cheer Fund, its dedicated volunteers, and the
organization’s accomplishments in helping our own.
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HONOR CHEER FUND LEGACY
Several Daily News Cheer Fund volunteers attended Rep. Randy
Frye's Statehouse ceremony enacting new legislation
commemorating 100 years of the Cheer Fund program. Pictured left
to right are Larry Moore, Joe Rust, Brian Huber, Bob Navarra,
Mildred Rogers, Laura Welborn, Greta Solgere, Rep. Randy Frye,
Sheila Doerflinger and Shelley Barton
Indiana State Rep. Randy Frye honored the Daily News Cheer
Fund's 100 years of community contributions at a recent