Township ordinance deals blow to fundraising efforts - WNEM TV 5

Township ordinance deals blow to fundraising efforts

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FLINT TOWNSHIP, MI (WNEM) -

Flint Township is a shopper's paradise.

“Look how many cars there are,” said resident Oralia Yrles.

And it's extremely busy during the Christmas season.

"This is where a lot of our business is, a lot of the money is. Restaurants. You know, everybody's in a giving mood," Yrles said.

Yrles is one of the charitable people. And it means a lot to give what she can to the Old Newsboys of Flint.

She likes getting a newspaper, but says the real reason is to assure needy children in the area will have a merry Christmas.

She was once a child who would have gone without.

"My kids are good, you know? But there are so many that aren't. And you want to help everybody," Yrles said.

But this year, Chris Hamilton, the executive director of the organization, said too many newspapers returned to the shop and donations are way down.

"Oh yeah, I'm deeply concerned. This is half of our budget for the entire year," Hamilton said.

Hamilton said bad politics are to blame.

In March, Flint Township approved a traffic ordinance that doesn't allow panhandlers to ask for money at corners.

And it also bans volunteer non-profits from greeting drivers in the middle of the street.

Now the Miller Road corridor in Flint Township is usually one of the busiest places. Most of those newspapers are handed out in that area.

Last year, Old Newsboys raised upwards of $20,000.

This year, they had to set up donation areas in the parking lots of local businesses.

Hamilton said it was a failure and the kids are the ones losing out.

"They're absolutely the real losers. And it's a crying shame that we're even talking about it," Hamilton said.

Yrles agrees and believes the good the Old Newsboys do for the area should be the focus.

"This is where you want to collect. Because everybody is in a giving mood," Yrles said.

The Old Newsboys of Flint have been around since 1924, and despite the slow donations, they still plan to help give a Christmas to their 800,000th child this year.

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