Church helper helped by Good Fellow/Argus Santa

Posted Online: Dec. 01, 2012, 6:22 pm
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By Leon Lagerstam,
ROCK ISLAND -- Who helps the helpers? The Dispatch Good Fellow and The Rock Island Argus Santa Fund does.

Cali Smith, 36, of Rock Island, can be found most often at Broadway Presbyterian Church helping anyone who wants or needs it, according to church member Brian McMaster, who nominated Ms. Smith and her family for some special help through the annual holiday campaign.

"She's really involved in worship, our after-school program and so many other things at church. I'd say it was that level of participation that drew me to nominate her, thinking it would, in some small way, compensate her for all she does, while getting far less recognition than what she deserves.''

It's been an "awful" past year and a half, Ms. Smith said. ''So many things have gone wrong, my mind's almost blank after everything that's happened.''

She, her husband, Matt Smith, a Desert Shield/Desert Storm veteran, and their two children, Xavier 7, and Lillian, 2, live in a triplex they own. In August, a tenant in the middle section of the building moved out without paying rent.

''Since then, the power's been turned off, the water's been turned off, and we've been dealing with foreclosure since we can't pay the mortgage without that rent payment," she said.

The furnace broke down, and a major pipe break flooded the basement, as their list of headaches continued, Ms. Smith said.

''And every time I walked outside, it seemed like my car had a flat tire," she said. ''And my husband's car also kept having flat tires."

Her daughter added to the frustration after she put a clothes pin with a metal spring in the microwave, causing it to short-circuit and break down, Ms. Smith said.

After learning of her family's problems, Mr. McMaster knew they could use some help and turned to the Good Fellow and Argus Santa Fund.

''It's such a great program,'' he said. ''It certainly helps a lot of deserving people."

''It actually means quite a bit to us," Ms. Smith said.

''And I was so delighted they were selected,'' Mr. McMaster said. ''It was wonderful.''

The holiday campaign helped make some needed car repairs, including a new tire, replacing two axles and repairing the power-steering system, Ms. Smith said.

For 105 years, The Dispatch Good Fellow and The Rock Island Argus Santa Fund has helped make the holidays brighter for people such as the Smith family, but the holiday-campaign helpers need your help.

This year's goal is $40,000. To date, $5,720 has been raised, leaving $34,280 to go.

Donations from area residents, businesses and civic groups are sought to help provide holiday gift cards for families to buy food, clothing and other necessities, as well as toys for children who might otherwise get nothing for Christmas.

Last year the fund helped 360 families with 909 children, plus another 260 low-income seniors and disabled people.

There are four easy ways to donate:
-- Make a secure donation online at
-- Send a check to Good Fellow, c/o Dispatch/Argus, 1720 5th Ave., Moline, IL 61265.
-- Use the drop box in the Dispatch/Argus lobby, 1720 5th Ave, Moline.
-- Use the drive-through window at the circulation office at the corner of 6th Avenue and 18th Street in downtown Moline.

In addition to selecting families for special holiday help, the newspapers rely on 12 area agencies to help identify people most in need and assist with distributing the gift certificates.

The agencies are Aldridge Early Learning Center, Bethany for Children & Families, Child Abuse Council, Boys & Girls Club of the Mississippi Valley, Just Kids Early Care & Education, Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, Project NOW, Skip-a-Long Child Development, InTouch Adult Day Services, Rock Island County Senior Center, Illinois Division of Rehabilitation and ARC of the Quad-Cities Area.

Donations are only used for special holiday assistance, and not for everyday agency programs.

The newspapers' promotion department coordinates the program. Administrative costs are paid by The Moline Dispatch Publishing Co.

The Argus Santa Holiday Fund was established in 1908, followed by the Dispatch Good Fellow in 1912. The programs merged in 1987 when The Dispatch bought The Rock Island Argus. The fund is recognized as a 501 (c) (3) charitable corporation by the IRS.

Contributors' names are published in weekly updates in The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus. Recent contributors are:

In memory of our parents, from Pauline and Wilfred Hefter, $100
Anonymous, $50
Karna and Vernon Hollatz, $200
Greg and Susan Wolf, $100
Circle King Daughters Isabelle Charles Davis, $50
Anonymous, $500
In memory of the DeBacker family, from Diane and Jim Champion, $100
In memory of our deceased parents, from Jan and Dan Wessel, $105
Anonymous, $500
Charles and Shirley Luebke, $100
In loving memory of Grandma Pauline Hall, from Russ and DeeAnn DeWinter, $100
Frances L. Morrissey, $100
Barry and Nemesia Johnson, $25
NARFE Blackhawk Chapter No. 338, $50
In remembrance of Lawrence and Nellie Liphardt, from Bernice Stropes, $25
Terry and Cynthia Francis, $25
Patricia McCormack, $100
In memory of our grandfather, Stan Barker and Aunt Sue, from Jim, Katie, and Emily, $100
In loving memory of Jack and Shirley Cook, from their daughter, Donna, $100
Michael Healless, $100
Brad and Julie Boyle, $100
In loving memory of Duane VanLandegen, from David, Cindy, Luke, and Sarah, $25
Bette and Marvin Salmonson, $50
Kenny and Sandy Overton, $50
Jimmy Moffitt, $50
Larry and Dorothy Morrison, $50
Mary Jo Wilson, $50
Ron and Brenda Boersen, $25
In memory of Ed and Emily Schmidt, Otto Schmidt, Marie and Dewey Fleming, and Joe McMahon, from Marvin Strum, $50
In memory of Robert E. Anderson, $25
Anonymous, $50
In memory of Don, David, and Johnny, from Teresa Huntley, $25
Jack Tumbleson, $20
In memory of Brent Anderson, love Grandma Sandy, $30
From B and B, $25
In memory of Fred and Kay, $100
In memory of Beulah Mae and Ed, $100


Local events heading

  Today is Monday, Oct. 20, the 293rd day of 2014. There are 72 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: The store of Devoe and Crampton was entered and robbed of about $500 worth of gold pens and pocket cutlery last night.
1889 -- 125 years ago: Michael Malloy was named president of the Tri-City Stone Cutters Union.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Dewitte C. Poole, former Moline newspaperman serving as vice consul general for the United States government in Paris, declared in a letter to friends that the once gay Paris is a city of sadness and desolation.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Plans for the construction of an $80,000 wholesale bakery at 2011 4th Ave. were announced by Harry and Nick Coin, of Rock Island. It is to be known as the Banquet Bakery.
1964 -- 50 years ago: An application has been filed for a state permit to organize a savings and loan association in Moline, it was announced. The applicants are Ben Butterworth, A.B. Lundahl, C. Richard Evans, John Harris, George Crampton and William Getz, all of Moline, Charles Roberts, Rock Island, and Charles Johnson, of Hampton.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Indian summer is quickly disappearing as temperatures slide into the 40s and 50s this week. Last week, highs were in the 80s.

(More History)