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“For it is in giving that we receive.” Francis of Assisi

Since 1977, Dick Clough’s Tour of Good Cheer has brought joy to northeast Ohio’s neediest families on the Saturday before Christmas. Instead of Dick delivering a couple of stuffed animals to patients at St. Vincent Charity Hospital, like he did for the first several years, the project has grown enormously. Today is the day of the 2020 Tour – the 36th annual event. This year is unlike any other year, as with the COVID pandemic we are not allowed to come into contact with any of the recipients. However, the need is greater than ever.

* Lakefront Lines has donated buses each year. They give us buses for “elves,” one for toys, and one for coats. This year, they are still giving us buses, but they will be for merchandise only.

* The Cleveland Police provides a three-car police escort to quickly get from stop to stop. This year, individuals driving their cars will also be part of the police escort.

* Sponsors donate gift cards to give to heads of households and they have done the same this year.

* 8,000 pieces of merchandise are sorted, packed, and distributed to about 1100 people. This year, the merchandise will be dropped off and distributed to the needy by the people who run the shelters.

* The “Cats on Holiday” local band spreads the joy of music. This year, they will be missed on the Tour.

* And although we’ve had Santa in the house, this year he is getting a much-needed break, and the 300 children we normally see will have to miss the opportunity.

During the holiday season, we think about giving to others in need – and it’s a magical thing to do. Let’s also remember that people need our help and support year-round. And it doesn’t have to be money or “things,” a kind word, a smile, or an act of kindness are also appreciated.