The Goodfellows in Dublin are on a mission to spread holiday cheer.

The organization, sponsored by the Erath County United Way and private donations, has begun a collection of various holiday items for needy families.

“We just try to help those folks in need and there are a lot of them now,” Goodfellow steward Michael Haley said.

Goodfellows has set up several donation sites to collect canned goods, toys and monetary donations, all of which will be paid forward to 150 needy families in Dublin.

Haley said a collection has already started at Dublin Middle School for canned goods.

“They donate (those) to us and we box them up,” Haley said. “We are trying to get up to 150 boxes this year that we can distribute to needy families.”

The boxes provided to families will also include a ham this year, thanks to David’s Supermarket, Haley said.

Canned goods can be donated at the middle school through Thursday, Dec. 10. Haley said donations should be checked for valid dates before they are donated.

The Goodfellows is also trying to bring smiles to children on Christmas Day. New toys or monetary donations are being accepted for children ages one through 16.

“We don’t take any used toys, only new ones,” Haley said. “We also have a fund that we set aside from Goodfellows and we will go out and buy $20 to 25 worth of toys that are age-appropriate. We try to get about three items (for each child).”

Toys can be donated directly to Goodfellows or at Maurices in Stephenville. Maurices recently chose the Goodfellows campaign as the recipient of its 2009 Toys for Tots drive. Shoppers who bring a new, unwrapped toy to Maurices, located in the Bosque River Center, through Dec. 10 will receive a coupon for 20 percent off a regular priced item.

“Many families are facing difficult times and we think it is important to help children experience the joys of the holiday season,” store manager Calie Spurger said. “Our hope is that this toy drive brings lots of happiness and unending smiles.”

Haley said Maurices’ involvement is “really a nice gesture on their part to help us out.”

While the organization is looking for donations, it is also taking applications for families in need. Needy families can register their children to be recipients of the toy drive at Dublin City Hall, located at 213 E. Blackjack Street, through Dec. 9. To qualify, families must be Dublin area residents.