Helping Denison families in need during the Christmas season has been a tradition of the Goodfellows Program since the Depression years. For qualifying families, the program, now overseen by Denison Lions Club Charities, Inc., provides toys for youngsters age 12 and younger, along with food for the family, delivered to their homes just before Dec. 25.

Helping Denison families in need during the Christmas season has been a tradition of the Goodfellows Program since the Depression years. For qualifying families, the program, now overseen by Denison Lions Club Charities, Inc., provides toys for youngsters age 12 and younger, along with food for the family, delivered to their homes just before Dec. 25.


Families wishing to apply for consideration in the program will be able to apply from Dec. 2 through Dec. 7 at the Lions Club Toy Shop, 1030 West Crawford in Denison. Hours will be from 9 a.m. until noon and from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m. Applicants must be Denison residents and will need to bring a driver’s license or other photo identification, a Social Security card, a paycheck stub or any document showing income and a rent receipt or anything show their current address.


The Goodfellows program got its start in the 1930s when a group of downtown Denison merchants worked together to help some local families during the Christmas season. The program continued and, in 1952, the Denison Lions Club was asked to help administer the applications and see to the distribution of food and children’s toys. The building housing the Lions Club Toy Shop was acquired to serve as a collection point for donated toys and non-perishable food items. Lions members volunteer their time and talent to repair used toys year-round and to keep the donations organized and ready to distribute, as well as to take and review applications from the families. Deliveries are made to the qualifying families a few days prior to Christmas.


The first few years of the Goodfellows programs, requests totaled around 25 or 30 each year. However, those numbers have grown significantly. In 2012, the Lions took in 209 family applications and, after the screening process, they approved 198 families.


Donations of non-perishable food items, grocery store cards, cash and new or gently-used toys are still needed to help this year’s families. Donations can be dropped off at the Toy Shop during the hours listed above. For more information, call the Toy Shop at 903-465-8103 and leave a message if no answer.