Through good times and hard times, the Tribune-Star Christmas Basket Fund has persevered in its mission to provide bountiful Christmas meals to neighbors and friends who are less fortunate. It does so with the solid support of people in the communities it serves.

This year will be no different, except that the number of families to be delivered food baskets has been raised from 500 to 700 and the fundraising goal increased from $20,000 to $25,000.

The rolling COVID-19 pandemic has been tough on already strained families and individuals. There has never been a more appropriate time than now to expand the reach of the Christmas Basket Fund. A generous and sizable donation at the conclusion of last year’s fund drive helped make the expansion possible this year, and the Tribune-Star and its dedicated employees are anxious to press forward and meet the fund’s 2021 goal.

The fundraising drive was launched on Thanksgiving Day. From now until the Christmas holidays arrive, we will be accepting donations to the fund and listing donors’ names and amounts on the front page of the newspaper. Anonymous donations are accepted, of course, as are donations in memory of loved ones who have passed.

The food baskets will be delivered by Tribune-Star employees and community volunteers on the morning of Christmas Eve. The baskets will include ham and a variety of side dishes for meal preparation. The list of recipients is provided by The Salvation Army.

This major undertaking is done with assistance from several community partners, including Baesler’s Market, B&B Foods and the Terre Haute North Vigo High School ROTC. Indiana State University provides space where the bulk food can be received and sorted into baskets by ROTC students. The students will then help load baskets into vehicles for distribution from the rear parking lot at The Meadows shopping center, home of the Tribune-Star.

The Christmas Basket Fund’s long and proud tradition began in 1928 and has been going strong ever since. Through the past 93 years, the community has embraced the project and made the holidays much brighter for thousands of Wabash Valley residents.

Contributions can be sent to the Tribune-Star, attention Christmas Basket Fund, P.O. Box 149, Terre Haute, IN 47808. Cash or check donations can be dropped off at the newspaper office in The Meadows from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Online donations can be made by clicking “Give Online” on the right-hand side of the screen. The Wabash Valley Community Foundation administers the donated funds, so contributions are tax-deductible.

The Christmas Basket drive also seeks gently used books, especially those suitable for children.