Extra! Extra! Read all about it! In this day and age, when news flows from Twitter feeds faster than print can keep up, there’s a reassuring nostalgia to Old Newsboys Day, a St. Louis tradition since 1957. Every year on the Thursday before Thanksgiving, hundreds of St. Louisans bundle up in their warmest outerwear – accessorized with the classic Old Newsboys Day apron – and take to the street corners, selling special editions of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch to benefit area children’s charities. Whether you choose to donate 20 cents or $20 for a newspaper, 100% of your contribution on that festive day goes to the charities selected by Old Newsboys for the year.
“Hundreds of charities, most of them small nonprofit organizations, apply for funding each year,” explains Mary Ann Wagner, promotions director and niche publisher for the Suburban Journals. In April, Old Newsboys celebrated the success of last year’s drive, which awarded 176 grants.
This year’s Old Newsboys Day, which will take place on November 15, marks the nonprofit’s 61st campaign. And, as always, the all-volunteer organization is looking to best the previous year’s results. “Our goal for this year is to beat that number!” says Doug Sansone, who, along with wife Molly, serves as the event’s co-chair.
Sansone’s ties to the St. Louis community – and the Old Newsboys organization – run deep. He fondly remembers watching his father rise early, don a hat and gloves, and head out into the cold to sell newspapers. Now with children of his own, the nonprofit’s overall mission resonates more profoundly with Sansone. “My wife and I have six children, and anything that has to do with children is really important to us,” he emphasizes. “We are St. Louis people, born and raised. My business is here. Our families are here. To be a small part of an organization that benefits so many children across the region is an honor.”
Although the maximum individual grant awarded to charities is $3,000, the event chair bestows a special Chairman’s Award, complete with a $10,000 grant, to one worthy nonprofit each year. This year’s recipient – Friends of Immigrants and Refugees of St. Louis (F.I.R.S.T.) – is particularly special to Sansone, as it was founded by his family nearly 20 years ago.
“F.I.R.S.T. is a very small charity, which is exactly what Old Newsboys is about,” he says. The charity benefits families with young children who legally come to the United States seeking greater opportunity. The organization especially focuses on families who choose to settle in the St. Louis area. “Many of these families come from war-torn countries,” states Sansone. “Each of us, in one way or another, is an immigrant to this country. We want to be there to encourage and assist people who are trying to better their lives by coming here.”
As passionate as Sansone is about F.I.R.S.T., he is equally hopeful that more members of the St. Louis community will become involved with Old Newsboys, perhaps by attending the organization’s upcoming fundraiser. Captain of the Saint Louis Polo Club, Sansone joined forces with Billy Busch, a fellow polo enthusiast and two-time former event chair, to plan a benefit polo match, which will take place on Saturday, Sept. 29th, at the Kräftig Polo Club in Defiance, Missouri. The event will not only feature a polo contest, but also activities and entertainment catering to the entire family.
As Old Newsboys Day approaches, Sansone offers a simple, heartfelt suggestion to the community: “Be generous. Participate and give what you can.”
Old Newboys Polo Match
Join co-chairs Christi and Billy Busch at this family-friendly event, whose proceeds will benefit the many area children’s charities supported by Old Newsboys.
3 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018 at Kräftig Polo Club in Defiance, Missouri
VIP tickets: $75, with food and beverage included
General Admission: $25 per car