LEE >> Two years after a reboot, the Laliberte Toy Fund has finally topped its fundraising goal in its mission to bring joy to dozens of less fortunate children in the Lee area.
Organizers report the final tally for the 2015 campaign came in at $8,170, just over the $8,000 mark that has been the standard since it came under new management in 2013.
"I think we were more organized this year and tried to get applications out earlier so that we could get a head start on shopping," said Donna Toomey, Lee's town treasurer.
Toomey, Selectwoman Patricia Carlino and Town Clerk Suzanne Clerk revamped the toy fund, but as private citizens as they have made it clear the charity is in no way connected to town government.
Carlino said making the goal gives the toy fund a head start for the 2016 holiday campaign.
"We're probably around $6,000 going into next year and we spent more on toys this year," she said.
Traditionally, the campaign kicked off around Thanksgiving, but the 2015 effort began in mid-October, in part,to encourage more families to access the charity. Applications were made available at Lee Town Hall, Lee Youth Association on Academy Street, Lee Elementary School and the Lee Food Pantry on Railroad Street.
The fund benefited 69 children this year, up from 67 in 2014 and 44 two years ago. Organizers hope to eventually get back to about 125 — its highest point a few years ago.
"I think we are finding as our numbers of children in need increase that we could really use some volunteers to help shop for the toys," Toomey said.
The toy fund was founded in 1958 by Lee police officer Edward J. Laliberte and was named for him after his death in the 1980s.
For information, visit firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lisa's Coal Fund $50
Terry & Michael McDermott 25
Denise & Roger Scheurer 50
IN MEMORY OF:
Josh Nadeau from David & Judy Nadeau 50
Bill Johnson & Diane Amato from Mary Johnson 25
Sara Carlino from Dick & Paula Rivers 25
Jim & Bobbie Pollard from Barry & John 100
Our son, Michael Coty, Love, Mom & Dad 50
Ed-Tubby-And Mr. Jo from Dick Shields 1,800
Our wonderful horses: Tillie, Victor, Big Moe, Mugsy, & Quazeo, from Brud and Diana Wellington 100
Today's total: $2,275
Total to date: $8,170
Over goal: $170