WATERTOWN — Old Newsboys Day, which hits a historic milestone this year, is in need of more volunteers.
The 75th annual Old Newsboy Day is Friday.
The Old Newsboys Day program, since the first one was held in 1947, works by volunteers spreading throughout the community and selling copies of the Watertown Daily Times for a price above its $2 cover cost. Funds raised benefit the local Salvation Army. The program was brought to Lewis County several years ago. Money raised in a community stays in that community.
If interested in becoming an Old Newsboys Day volunteer, contact Paul A. Simmons at 315-783-7302.
Mr. Simmons, also president of the Watertown Salvation Army Board of Directors, keeps an eye out for any opportunity to sign up volunteers for Old Newsboys Day. Despite its name, volunteers don’t have to be male or “old.”
“We’re doing better,” he said on Nov. 11. “I signed up three more this morning at Sunrise Rotary.”
He added, “I picked up around 12 in the last 12 days. They’re friends of mine, most of them. Nobody says no because they don’t want me to call back. They just tell me ‘Yes’ and get it over with.”
As of Nov. 11, he had signed up 18 volunteers. But more are needed. In a “good year” for volunteers, such as two years ago, Mr. Simmons said 30 volunteer Old Newsboys took part.
“The problem is, we’d like to sell from 7:30 in the morning to like 2 in the afternoon,” Mr. Simmons said. “That’s a long day for people taking time off their work to come help.”
Stores are popular places for Old Newsboys to ask for donations.
“We’ve got three new stores that want us to come there this year,” Mr. Simmons said.
Those stores are Runnings, Price Chopper and Planet Fitness at Salmon Run Mall.
With more stores comes the need for more volunteers, especially at a large store like Walmart, which has more than one entrance where Old Newsboys could be assigned.
“You need at least two people and you’re talking about a six-hour day,” Mr. Simmons said. “But you really need eight people out there, minimum.”
Lewis County connection
In Lewis County, those who wish to volunteer may contact Jeremiah Papineau at 315-748-6361. Mr. Papineau, director of communications and foundation director for the Volunteer Transportation Center, has been spearheading Old Newsboys Day in Lewis County for nearly a decade; a task he began when he was managing editor of the Journal & Republican.
“Just knowing the funds we raise stay local makes a world of difference for folks here in Lewis County,” Mr. Papineau said. “We’re really looking forward to this year’s Old Newsboys Day and to raising more money for this important cause. It’s a great time of year when everyone is getting into the holiday spirit and we appreciate how the spirit compels people to give.”