The Commercial is beginning its annual Christmas Card Fund on Thursday. This is the 25th year for the fundraiser, which benefits local children.

The Commercial is beginning its annual Christmas Card Fund on Thursday. This is the 25th year for the fundraiser, which benefits local children.

Since 1987, the newspaper has sponsored the program to help needy students in Jefferson County schools.

In 2011, the fund raised $8,448.35.

Each year, people are invited to send in donations that are given to the Watson Chapel, Pine Bluff, Dollarway and White Hall school districts. There are no administrative costs, therefore all the proceeds are given to the schools.

Every year, the newspaper hears from teachers, parents and others in the community who report about how the fund has helped area children.

Schools see lots of children and families in need year round, not only at Christmas time. Over the years, stories have been told about how the money goes toward a variety of uses such as for coats, shoes or school uniforms for children who couldnít afford such necessities. Sometimes, the fund has been used to buy eyeglasses or medicine or even for family emergencies such as a house fire.

People who contribute at least $1 by Dec. 19 will have their names published on a Christmas Card that will be published in the newspaper before Christmas Day.

Donors may send contributions to The Commercialís Christmas Card Fund, c/o Pine Bluff Commercial, P.O. Box 6469, Pine Bluff, AR, 71611. Donations may also be brought to the office at 300 Beech St., weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

For those submitting a long list with names from classrooms or other organizations, The Commercial asks that the list be submitted by email to rbaldwin@pbcommercial.com on the same day the money is turned into the newspaper.