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Bomgaars launches new charity drive for Goodfellows

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Bomgaars rounds up for Mr. Goodfellow

Aaron Bomgaars, senior vice-president of Bomgaars is shown Nov. 19 at the retailer's Hamilton Boulevard store in Sioux City. This holiday season, the Sioux City-based company will be asking customers to round up their purchase prices, with the extra money going to the Journal's Goodfellows charity. 

SIOUX CITY -- Bomgaars kicks off a new fundraiser Friday to collect change to benefit The Journal's Goodfellow charity.

Customers at 15 Bomgaars stores across Siouxland will be asked if they would like to round up the total of their purchases to the nearest dollar, with the proceeds given to Goodfellow, which provides toys and books to children from needy families at Christmastime. Bomgaars' "Round Up & Make A Change Today" campaign run through Dec. 31. 

Aaron Bomgaars, senior vice president at Bomgaars, said that this will be the first time the Sioux City-based retailer has asked customers to round up the total of their purchases for a charitable cause. It's also the first time Mr. Goodfellow, which was founded over a century ago, has raised funds in such a manner. 

"We, as an organization, have supported the Goodfellows fundraising efforts for many years, primarily with the campaign that the Sioux City Journal runs every holiday season," said Aaron Bomgaars, the fourth-generation of his family to help lead the business. 

Angie Dye, president of Goodfellow Charities, said she anticipates this season's applications for Goodfellow gifts might be greater than in other years, following the pandemic's disruption to the economy. As of last week, the charity had raised about $40,000. The goal is to raise $135,000 this year. 

"Mostly, our fundraising efforts comes from donations from businesses," Dye said. 

Last year, more than 8,000 children from 1,400 families benefited from the charity. 

This year's fund drive culminates with the annual sale of the Little Yellow Dog on Dec. 11 at the Ho-Chunk Centre in downtown Sioux City. The auction is again open to the public after the pandemic limited attendance at the 2020 auction.

Goodfellow got its start in December 1914, when a Journal reporter noticed two siblings, a boy and a girl, gazing longingly at the window of a department store. He took them into the  store, bought them mittens and received a huge thanks: “These are the first presents we’ve ever had,” the boy said.

When the reporter told his editor what had happened, the editor told him to write the story, encouraging others to give. 

The first Little Yellow Dog auction was held in 1936, when a dog named Skippy fetched $25 for the charity. 

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