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The Old Newsboys: still here for you

Written by Tanya Terry

It’s almost here! The Old Newsboys of Flint present their annual newspaper sale the second Friday in December.

A recent breakfast kickoff was a way to say hello and thank you to volunteers for the newspaper sale, according to Tony Tucker, executive director of Old Newsboys of Flint.

“It’s where everybody gets their information,” Tucker said.

Heather McMullen, finance director of Old Newsboys of Flint said the goal has been to raise $300,000 through the newspaper sales in previous years.

“It’s going to be difficult to reach $300,000 this year because of the coronavirus and everybody that is partially working; not having as much money to give,” McMullen said.

She has set the goal at $200,000 this year and said she will pray to get there.

“All the money we raise is put in to purchase all the items for the Christmas box for 2021,” McMullen added.

McMullen has been working for the Old Newsboys for almost 13 years.

“I was helped as a child (by the Old Newsboys). So, I have been aware of the Old Newsboys for about 40 years…Growing up my dad would always tell me when they (the Old Newsboys) were standing on the corner that I always needed to give back. So, I gave every year, and then one day I answered a blind ad in the paper for a job, and it just happened to be the Old Newsboys finance director position. My dad was my first phone call (to tell him I got the job). I was overjoyed!”

Tucker helped the Old Newsboys sale newspapers at the Masonic Temple before becoming executive director of the well-respected non-profit organization, which has been providing toys and clothing for children in need since 1924.

According to the organization’s website, more than 824,000 children have received gifts via the Old Newsboys.

Tucker describes the Old Newsboys of Flint’s former executive director Chris Hamilton as “a friend and a mentor.”

“Chris lived by our motto: ‘let no child be forgotten,’” Tucker said. “He was unselfish and he made it to everything; anything going on in the community, fundraising of any kind-he was there! He was at all the Chamber meetings. He was 100% involved.”

Tucker said he cried his eyes out when he was asked to be the new executive director after Hamilton passed away in March of 2020.

“Chris had asked me prior to that if I was interested in working with him and learning how to do it. We lost him before I got that opportunity.”

Tucker’s first day as an employee at the Old Newsboys of Flint was the day the governor shut the state down. He agreed to take the position prior to the restaurant being closed.

“It was terrifying. I closed my restaurant and started a new job (as executive director of the Old Newsboys of Flint) all in a very short amount of time. I’m honored to take this job.”

Tucker’s job consists of community awareness; letting people know who the Old Newsboys are and what they are doing, as well as inviting them to support the organization.

“Because of COVID-19 a lot of things have been canceled. We did do our golf outing this year. I was able to observe and learn from that. I did put together a fundraiser we held last month at a local scrap yard.”

The annual golf event was held Aug. 10, has been going on over 20 years and raised $42,000.

“The Salvage Santa Project” was held for the first time this year at Monster X Metals and Gold in Clio, where attendees donated cars, a washer and dryer, jewelry and other metal items. Two thousand five hundred dollars were raised.

McMullen said the Old Newsboys and other charities in this area are in desperate need of assistance.

“We need help,” she said. “We need donations. We need volunteers.”

Anyone interested in donating money, items or time to the Old Newsboys can call 810-744-1840.

“Aside from the challenges of 2020 the Old Newsboys is still here and accepting the extra responsibility to make sure that no child be forgotten,” Tucker said.

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