The Goodfellows story began in 1905 when Thomas May, a prominent editorial cartoonist for the Detroit Journal Paper, was deeply moved by a story he had heard from one of his employees. The employee told May about a little neighbourhood girl he came across, sitting on the steps of a rundown house, wearing a tattered coat and shivering in the winter cold. The girl explained that she was waiting for Santa, but concluded that she “must have been very naughty because he hasn’t come.”
“In 1910, a group of Windsor newspapermen carried on the movement by establishing the Windsor chapter.”
Inspired by this, May created a drawing of a little girl with her head slumped over an empty table in a desolate room, and a ragged empty stocking dangling from her hand – a picture that would eventually become the official emblem of the Goodfellows. The drawing was published in the newspaper and led to the formation of the Detroit Goodfellows.
In 1910, a group of Windsor newspapermen carried on the movement by establishing the Windsor chapter. On December 15th of that year, the Windsor Record (which eventually became The Windsor Star) published a story about the “Good Fellow Club”, asking area citizens to help those less fortunate.
In 1914, Leo Page and E.J Craig, two of the club’s earliest members, began the tradition of publishing and selling a special newspaper edition to raise money to provide Christmas dinner and other necessities for those less fortunate. Calling themselves the “Oldnewsboys”, they were part of a group of ten men – all former newspaper delivery boys – who hit the street corners to sell as many papers as they could. The first year’s sales netted a little over $400.
Each year more men volunteered and more money was raised. From humble beginnings, the Windsor Goodfellows has grown to become one the area’s leading charitable organizations, upon which thousands of families rely. Carrying on the tradition to this day, the annual newspaper sale continues to be the main source of Goodfellow funding.