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Old Newsboys Day finds new volunteers but lags in donations

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Old Newsboys Day Volunteer Coordinator David L. Bonney got half his wish Friday when new volunteers showed up to participate in the Watertown Salvation Army’s second-largest fundraiser.

What didn’t come true was meeting, or surpassing, the $32,122.04 raised in last year’s event. As of 4:30 p.m. Friday, about $20,000 was collected from participants who worked on the streets and in workplaces.

The Watertown Daily Times sponsored the 66th annual Old Newsboys Day. Participants sold newspapers for anywhere from 75 cents to hundreds of dollars. This year, there were 34 street sellers and 18 participating businesses.

“The main thing is the number of new people who came forward,” Mr. Bonney said. “That enables us to cover areas of the city we otherwise wouldn’t have. Also, our old-time regulars have been back. It’s extremely important for the core group that comes back each year to maintain their contacts throughout the year.”

Funds raised from Old Newsboys Day go toward the Salvation Army’s Christmas efforts and food baskets for a traditional holiday meal. Through the effort, needy children will find presents under their Christmas tree and food on the holiday table. Any leftover money will be used to help the agency’s children and adult programs throughout the coming year.

Mr. Bonney said 4,075 papers were ordered for the event, but only 2,875 were sold. Many people also opt to just donate to the agency.

A preview of the event took place during the Fireball Run in September and raised $405.75. Mr. Bonney said Old Newsboys Day’s top seller raised slightly more than $8,000 on his own. That, combined with dollar bills and change, makes a big difference for the agency’s programs and services, he said.

James L. Lafferty, who has been active in Rotary International, volunteered for the first time Friday for Old Newsboys Day. He was stationed at the Salmon Run Mall for three hours.

“It’s for doing something worthwhile for other people,” he said. “It’s a contribution of time. People are very generous, and our Canadian friends have donated as well.”

Salvation Army board member and Old Newsboys Day volunteer Robert E. Schweitzer said he has volunteered for the event for at least 30 years and will keep participating as long as he can.

People who did not turn in money by 4:30 p.m. Friday will drop it off at the Salvation Army on Monday. A final total will be calculated by late next week.

Anyone who did not participate in the fundraiser may do so by looking for an upcoming coupon in the Times or simply stopping by the Watertwn Salvation Army, 723 State St. Cash will be accepted as will checks to Watertown Salvation Army with “Old Newsboys Day” written in the memo line.

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