The Way it Was – Detroit Goodfellows, 1938

Detroit Goodfellows, 1938

1938 You can’t fake photos like this. There’s no staginess in this image of an underprivileged family opening Christmas gifts from the Old Newsboys’ Goodfellow Fund of Detroit, delivered by a policeman. To this day Detroit police officers continue to donate their time to the group. The family probably expected to have a grim Christmas, so the expressions of surprise and gratitude on their faces appear absolutely genuine — even the baby is smiling. Since 1914 the Detroit Goodfellows have distributed toys, clothing, candy, dolls, books, and other gifts to ensure that their slogan is achieved: “No Kiddie Without a Christmas.” Children in Detroit, Hamtramck, Highland Park, Harper Woods, and River Rouge are served. But the Goodfellows aren’t a Christmas-only charity. The organization also offers a dental program, scholarships, a shoe program, and grants to summer camps. On the Monday after Thanksgiving, volunteers hit the streets to sell newspapers for whatever donation people care to give. There’s also an annual Tribute Breakfast fundraiser. Of course, the Goodfellows accept donations any time of the year ( This year the group plans to distribute 34,000 packages in December, likely to bring smiles as bright as they were back in 1938.