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Cheer Fund needs real home base

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THERE is no doubt that Columbus Firemen’s Cheer Fund does good in our community, providing Christmas presents for children who would go without. It thrives on donations of toys, time and money.

But now it is time for the community to make a larger commitment to the program and provide a permanent home for the charity.

For the fourth time in as many years, the Cheer Fund will be hunting for a new home. Organizers found out last month that the most recent location for the charity drive, an out-building at the old wastewater treatment plant off Water Street, will not be available next year.

Until it finds a new home, the charity will pack up and move into a temporary trailer.

For years, the distribution site has hopscotched around the city. In 2010, the charity moved from a building at the former Bartholomew County REMC property on Second Street. For two years it was at the former National Linen building at Ruddick Avenue and 12th Street. Previous years saw temporary homes at diverse locations, including a 23rd Street building, a warehouse between 25th Street and National Road and Donner Center.

In 2006, the charity’s temporary home was raided by burglars, who made off with thousands of dollars worth of presents, casting a pall over the holiday season.

Because of the absence of a permanent home, the charity lacks the ability to dedicate itself year-round to donations and organizing. Each year ends in a mad rush as organizers try to gather all the toys necessary to fill the ever-increasing need, racing to beat the Christmas deadline.

The Columbus Firemen’s Cheer Fund was founded in 1930. It is hardly a fly-by-night charity; instead it has become one of the community’s venerable institutions.

It is time to find a place that is safe, secure and accessible.


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