When this newspaper created the Transcript Bulletin Benefit Fund in 1977, it had one simple purpose: to help an individual or family at Christmastime with a unique need that could not be met by traditional charitable means.
For yet another year, the Benefit Fund has lived up to its purpose in a big way, but only because of the swift and generous response of our loyal readers.
How swift and generous? Even Santa Claus’s magical ability to deliver presents worldwide on Christmas Eve can barely compare.
In less than a week, readers donated over $5,000 in cash to help Olive Fifita and his 9 children. The Tooele family was hit hard and painfully on the morning of Dec. 16 when wife and mother, Oto’ ota Fifita, died from a heart attack. She was only 44 years old. Of the 9 children, the youngest is age 3.
The family’s tragedy was brought to the attention of the newspaper’s ownership by another family who was being considered for the Benefit Fund. With compassion and selflessness that warms the heart, they generously suggested the Fifita family instead and wrote in an email: “This fund would definitely help their father, Olive, to lighten the burdens and give some good cheer to their family this Christmas season, while mourning the loss of their mother/wife. … This token of charity will help put a smile on each of their beautiful faces.”
The Fafita family was contacted and humbly accepted the nomination. The family was announced as the Benefit Fund’s beneficiary the next day in the Tuesday, Dec. 17 edition of the Transcript Bulletin.
Usually the beneficiary is announced a week or two sooner to give readers more time to respond and to let the fund’s balance grow before its proceeds are delivered to the beneficiary typically a day or two before Christmas.
Evidently readers didn’t need more time. When the Fafita family was announced in the Dec. 17 edition, the Benefit Fund’s balance was only $331, according to Bruce Dunn, CFO of Transcript Bulletin Publishing.
But only six days later, a $5,635 check was presented to Olive and his children in their home by Clayton Dunn, associate publisher and vice-president of Transcript Bulletin Publishing. After Dec. 17, the money literally began to pour in from hundreds of contributors.
As reported in a front-page story in last Thursday’s edition, Olive referred to the Benefit Fund as a “pure Christ-like gesture,” that would help his family.
“It’s going to help us get food, clothes, and other essentials for the children, and it may even help us with their education — something their mom always stressed the importance of,” Olive said.
To every reader who contributed to the 42nd annual Transcript Bulletin Benefit Fund, your kindness and generosity, with only days to spare before Christmas, are sincerely appreciated. Thanks to you, a special family hit by tragedy now knows the compassion of this community in a profound and lasting way.
But Olive says it better. “It’s such a blessing,” he said about the generosity of readers. “I can’t express the feeling of appreciation … The Lord will bless everyone out there that has reached out to us.”