Over the years, White Hall School District Interim Superintendent Doug Dorris has seen his district’s students benefit from community members donating money to the Pine Bluff Commercial Christmas Card Fund.

The newspaper has sponsored the annual fund, which allows donors to make contributions, for the past 30 years.

Since 1987, the effort has raised more than $300,000 for children. None of the money is kept for administrative costs. The newspaper collected nearly $7,000 last year.

“It helps our kids for a variety of reasons, kids who are in need,” said Dorris, who has been with the district for the last 37 years. “We use it when a family’s house is destroyed in a fire. We use it for a variety of things. They come and help us out.”

Anyone who gives at least $1 will have his or her name placed on a “Community Christmas Card” to be published in the Commercial on Christmas Eve.

Jefferson County educators have shared stories of children living in extreme poverty, lacking food, plumbing, heat and air conditioning — and even one child living in a tent. As a result, these children come to school suffering and are at a distinct disadvantage, educators said. The fund helps to provide basic necessities so these children are able to arrive at school having been in a safe environment and haven eaten a meal. They are then able to concentrate on academics and learn.

The deadline is Monday, Dec. 18, for donors who want to make contributions and have their names listed on the Community Christmas Card. Donations should be made to the Christmas Card Fund, care of the Pine Bluff Commercial, P.O. Box 6469, Pine Bluff, AR, 71611. Donations may also be hand-delivered to The Commercial at 300 S. Beech St. between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays.

The newspaper doesn’t keep any of the funds for administrative costs.