Students in the central San Joaquin Valley deserve a round of applause.
With them, Kids Day wouldn't be able to break records year after year in support of Children's Hospital Central California.
As of Thursday evening, the people hawking a special Kids Day edition of The Bee on Tuesday, had turned in more than $484,000.
That total surpasses last year's record and there's a good chance the final tally will be close to $500,000.
The dedication of student volunteers is an important ingredient in the Kids Day success story. Without them, Children's Hospital wouldn't have received $6.8 million over 27 years to help heal the sick, repair broken bones and turn back life-threatening diseases.
Fresno State students have stepped up in a big way as former university president John Welty and now Joseph Castro challenged them to become more involved in the community. This year, Fresno State students collected $40,744 for the papers they sold.
High schools, middle schools and elementary schools enthusiastically support Kids Day, too.
For some students, it's an effort that flows from personal experience. They've been cared for by the hospital's doctors and nurses. But school pride and bragging rights are at stake, too.
Marshall McDowell, director of audience development for The Bee, estimates that 60% to 70% of the money that goes to Children's Hospital from Kids Day is the result of students selling newspapers.
Tom Cullinan, publisher and president of The Bee, has said that when schools became heavily involved in Kids Day during the early 2000s, donations doubled. Without a doubt, their participation kept the event going strong during the Great Recession.
We salute all of the volunteers. Some take a day off work, others rise at 5 o'clock in the morning, sell papers and then put in a full day of work.
For employees at The Bee and our Kids Day television partner, ABC30, it's one of the longest — but most satisfying — days of the year.
Finally, a thank-you to everyone that bought a Kids Day edition. We know that traffic slows and gets congested at major intersections between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. on Kids Day, and drivers must be extra alert for cars stopping and hawkers handing papers through car windows. Your caution and patience is much appreciated.
It takes teamwork to keep an event moving forward for 27 years. We're already looking forward to next March.
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