GoodFellas are all about ‘giving kids a reason to believe’

Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 4:42 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - Summer’s starting to sizzle, but members of the Waco GoodFellas are already thinking about Christmas and what they can do to make the holidays brighter for underprivileged children just as they’ve done every December for more than 25 years.

The GoodFellas are mostly about Christmas and “giving kids a reason to believe,” but they’re ready to lend a helping hand year-round.

Treasurer Kyle Wollard says whenever they see a need, they do what they can.

“We help kids battling terminal illnesses. We provide laptops and tablets for learning programs through Waco ISD. We do summer reading programs with the schools where we give bikes away to top kids in summer reading and occasionally help when people are in crisis situations.”

Earlier this month the GoodFellas learned about a mother who was living with her seven children in an abandoned school bus with no water and no air conditioning.

One of the members put up enough money to get the family into a hotel, and then the GoodFellas found a house and filled it with donated furniture.

The China Spring coaching staff showed up last weekend to move the family in.

This weekend the group is holding its annual Christmas in July fundraiser, which starts at 6 p.m. Saturday at The Base at the Extraco Events Center.

Tickets may be purchased by calling the Salty Dog Sports Bar and Grill at (254) 732-5161.

The GoodFellas are all volunteers, and all the proceeds from the event go to fund their mission.

“These funds help us purchase bicycles, Christmas trees and give all the kids in McLennan County a chance to have Christmas, give them a chance to believe and know there’s hope and things will be all good,” Goodfellas President Randy Crook said.

Randy Crook (right) is one of the original GoodFellas.
Randy Crook (right) is one of the original GoodFellas.(Courtesy photo)

Crook was one of the handful of men who founded the GoodFellas in 1994, with their own money and an idea.

“We were a group of like five guys just sitting around one night and said, ‘let’s pool our money together and go help some kids,” Crook said.

“The next day we drove through the neighborhood kind of like Mardi Gras. We’d honk the horns and people started coming.”

The original group of five friends has grown to an army of 50-plus men.

They estimate they’ve helped more than 10,000 children and families since.

The Goodfellas get emotional talking about how giving is always better than receiving.

“I don’t know that there are words,” Wollard said.

“Enough that we’ve done it for 25 years for free.”

“Being one of the guys who started it, I’ve just seen it go from a small group of guys to what it is now, just to see how far we can take it. It’s very humbling,” Crook said.

The money raised in July makes for a brighter Christmas for underprivileged children.
The money raised in July makes for a brighter Christmas for underprivileged children.(Courtesy photo)

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