12/23/10 — Physicians Christmas Fund

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Physicians Christmas Fund

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on December 23, 2010 1:46 PM

Celebrating its 20th year providing support for area charities, the Physicians Christmas Fund through Wayne Memorial Hospital recently raised $14,900 that was distributed among 12 groups.

"We asked our staff in October if they would be willing to sponsor this event again and we got an overwhelming response," said Dr. William DeAraujo, who along with Dr. Thad West, were among those who launched the effort.

To date, the fund has raised $341,226, DeAraujo added.

Beneficiaries of this year's contributions included Family YMCA, Kitty Askins Hospice Center, Community Soup Kitchen of Goldsboro, Special Olympics Wayne County, Boys & Girls Club of Wayne County, Meals on Wheels, Fordham House, Salvation Army, Goldsboro Junior Woman's Club, Wayne Pregnancy Center, Habitat for Humanity and Young Life.

Through the additional funding, programs such as the soup kitchen were able to respond to the needs of its clientele.

Janet Owle, a member the soup kitchen board, said approximately 30,000 meals were served this year, more than 3,000 over that of the previous year.

"That may tell you something about the current economic condition in Wayne County," she said. "It takes about $200 a day to serve 100 people and about 6,500 volunteer hours."

Fortunately, she added, the volunteer pool has been up, with enough signed up to help into May.

Special Olympics Wayne County has also added a program this year, for younger children since the program typically doesn't start until they turn 8 years old.

"Through Parks and Recreation, we started a program this year for 'under 8's' and have about 17 members," said Don Jenkins, a volunteer in the program. "We also started a school program to get mainstream youths involved."

For some agencies, it's been a particularly tough year. Major Andrew Wiley from Salvation Army said that in addition to the Christmas kettles, the program also does such things as operate a homeless shelter for men and provides clothing vouchers.

"It takes a lot of money to make it work," he said. "We have had funding cuts like other agencies. It's proving to be a tough season."

One of the newer recipients is Young Life of Wayne County, a Christian outreach ministry for high school students.

"We have three people on staff and a group of volunteer leaders from the community," said staff member E.J. Scalf.

Schools currently served by the program include Charles B. Aycock, Eastern Wayne, Spring Creek and Southern Wayne high schools.

"We would love to be in every school in the county but it's kind of hard to find volunteer leaders," he said.

Much of their funding has come from individual donors, Scalf said, with a note of gratitude to the doctors group for being generous.

"Without people like you and the Physicians Fund, we would not be able to do what we do," he said. "Kids' lives are being changed and because of people like you, we are able to do that."