Santa Fund

Attendees enjoy a pasta dinner in 2019 in Pittsfield to benefit The Eagle Santa Fund.

The three major holiday fundraisers in Berkshire County shattered their goals despite the economically crippling coronavirus pandemic.

The Eagle Santa Fund, Laliberte Toy Fund and The Watson Fund all had a donation surge the last week before Christmas, to easily surpass their targeted amount so organizers could bring joy to hundreds of families and children throughout the 32 cities and towns.

The Eagle Santa Fund, which began in 1929, blew past its goal of $45,000 by $7,000 just before Dec. 25. The donations pay for gift cards for hundreds of families in the Pittsfield area and beyond.

“The Eagle Santa Fund is extremely grateful to all those who sent in donations this year. During this time of need, it was wonderful to find so many people were thinking of others and helped us exceed our goal,” organizers said in a statement.

The second-oldest fundraiser, The Waston Fund, buoyed by a $15,000 anonymous gift, has raised, to date, $37,636 in its 84th year. The goal was $30,000.

The fund provides food and clothing gift certificates to needy families throughout South Berkshire.

The Laliberte Toy Fund serving Lee, Tyringham and Lenox Dale nearly doubled what it hoped to raise, taking in $12,927. Organizers had lowered its goal from the typical $8,500 to $7,000, anticipating fewer donations because of COVID-19. The goal was reached two weeks before Christmas and approached the $12,000 mark by Christmas Eve.

This year, gift cards toward toys, rather than unwrapped toys themselves, were handed out to dozens of less-fortunate families with children.

Dick Lindsay can be reached at rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com.