A record number of volunteers – from police officers and firefighters to elected officials and business people to college and high school students – took positions on street corners and sidewalks across the central San Joaquin Valley Tuesday to sell special-edition Fresno Bee newspapers for the 31st annual Kids Day fundraiser.
The event is one of the largest fundraisers of the year for Valley Children's Hospital. Last year’s Kids Day raised a record $628,611 for Valley Children's. The goal this year is $650,000.
At the end of Tuesday, $177,000 in donations had been tallied. More donations will be counted in coming days before the total is reached.
“It would be impossible to personally thank all the volunteers who made this year’s event so incredibly successful,” said Todd Suntrapak, Valley Children's president and and chief executive officer. “In record numbers, volunteers took to the streets of the Valley to show their support for Valley Children's and I am so proud and touched by all their efforts.”
The hospital provides emergency and specialty care to children with medical needs. In its first 30 years, Kids Day raised over $8.6 million.
Taking part this year were 175 schools and a total of more than 8,000 volunteers.
The spirit of supporting Kids Day was evident by the numerous Twitter posts made by volunteers. Fresno Christian School and students at Fresno State noted that they were in position by 4:30 a.m. to start hawking the papers. That was true for many other groups helping across the region as well.
Among those posting tweets of themselves selling were staff at Lemoore Police Department; members of the Fresno Football Club, the city’s new professional soccer team; athletes from several Fresno Pacific University teams; members of the Office of Black Student Success at Fresno State, as well as other campus groups; and Fresno Mayor Lee Brand and city council members.
Perhaps none traveled from as far away to help sell as Alex Trinh of Northridge. Retired Bee executive editor Jim Boren tweeted that Trinh “heard about Kids Day and decided to drive to Fresno this morning to sell papers. He said Valley Children's "has a statewide reputation and he wanted to help the kids. “
A post by Twitter user xo_valerie _xo reflected a similar sentiment: “A guy asked for one newspaper and handed us a total of $100, he said ‘I’d really like to help someone.’ That man deserves it all.”
Here's a taste of what went on Tuesday morning: