St. Nick Fund helps kids, needy families

St. Edward School fifth-graders Heather Sweet, left, and Morgan Rutledge turn in their toys and gift lists at a Dec. 6 shopping trip at the Hurstbourne Lane Walmart. The shopping excursion was sponsored by the St. Nick Fund charity which collects money, shops for items and distributes gifts to families who otherwise could not afford to buy Christmas presents. (Record photo by Jessica Able)

St. Edward School fifth-graders Heather Sweet, left, and Morgan Rutledge turn in their toys and gift lists at a Dec. 6 shopping trip at the Walmart store on Hurstbourne Lane. The shopping excursion was sponsored by the St. Nick Fund charity which collects money, shops for items and distributes gifts to families who otherwise could not afford to buy Christmas presents. (Record photo by Jessica Able)

By Jessica Able, Record Staff Writer

Once again the St. Nick Fund is collecting money, shopping for items and distributing gifts to children, families and senior citizens who otherwise may not have a gift under the tree when Dec. 25 rolls around.

Volunteers from numerous parishes in the Archdiocese of Louisville — including St. Bernard, St. Michael, St. Edward and St. Gabriel churches — gathered at the Walmart store on Hurstbourne Lane Dec. 6 to shop for 236 children of military families and 108 children who are residents of Brooklawn Home.

The charity — started by David Bohn, a parishioner of St. Edward Church — is now in its second year in the archdiocese and is poised to surpass all of last year’s totals.

“Right now we’ve collected around $93,000 to $94,000 and the total number of people we will help will well exceed 1,500,” Bohn said in a phone interview Dec. 5.

In 2011, the charity raised approximately $90,000 and aided nearly 1,500 people.

Bohn and his wife Whitney started the St. Nick Fund several years ago in Western Kentucky where the couple own a lake house. It was so successful they decided to introduce it here in Louisville.

“I think it’s been so successful here because it’s pure. It’s not just people giving a donation, but they also shop for the gift” and in some cases hand deliver it to the recipients,” Bohn noted.

In total the charity has more than 1,500 volunteers who assist in the shopping and distribution. That total includes a record number of children and teens, Bohn said.

“This year we are getting students more involved. We have about 200 here helping us today,” Bohn said at the Dec. 6 shopping event. “Kids know what they are doing. We give them the list and they go find the gifts. We believe that’s what our Catholic, Christian identify is about — loving they neighbor.”

Kathleen Connelly, an eighth-grader at St. Edward School, said she enjoys shopping for others because it makes her “feel good.”

“Some people don’t have enough money to have Christmas (gifts) and we are able to help,” Connelly explained.

The group will hold several more shopping excursions at area stores throughout the Christmas season.

The St. Nick Fund is still taking donations and requests for assistance. For more information, email saintnickfund@aol.com.

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