This year’s Christmas Happiness Fund reaches $35,000 in donations for local children

Published 12:08 am Sunday, December 26, 2021

By Natalie Anderson

SALISBURY — Joseph Kirk has been donating to the annual Christmas Happiness Fund on behalf of his parents and siblings for more than two decades.

Kirk was one of many Rowan Countians who participated this year in the nearly 70-year long tradition first started by then-Salisbury Post Editor Spencer Murphy. The annual Christmas Happiness Fund helps families gift their children with Christmas presents. The Post collects money from the community before passing donations along to the Rowan chapter of the Salvation Army, which distributes the funds.

Last year, the Christmas Happiness program raised more than $42,500 to help local children. This year, $35,434 has been raised. Any additional donations received after Christmas will go toward next year’s fund.

“I think (Murphy) had it right to help give to the children who otherwise wouldn’t have had much of a Christmas,” Kirk said. “It’s to help those that are less fortunate than yourself.”

Kirk donated in honor of his father, John, and mother, Catherine. John died in 1984 and Catherine died 20 years later. Joseph Kirk said his mother contributed to the fund annually in her latter years, and he continues the tradition today on behalf of his six siblings who are located across the nation.

Joseph Kirk said in 1960, his father opened Jay’s Restaurant across from where the Salisbury Police Department is located on East Liberty Street today. The restaurant could seat around 75 people and served traditional American favorites like burgers, barbecue, hotdogs and sandwiches. Joseph Kirk said after heeding advice of locals at the time, the restaurant eventually began serving hot plate lunches with daily specials.

Joseph Kirk said his father never served alcohol as he wanted the restaurant to remain a family-friendly joint. His father eventually retired in 1979, and the building continued to anchor other restaurants for another few years before the city tore it down in the 1980s, he said.

“Everybody that ate there enjoyed it,” Joseph Kirk said.

The latest donations are as follows:

• In honor of Deborah, Wesley, Erika, Isiah, Corbynn, Oaklyn, Roy and Haleigh, by Durward and Glenda Campbell, $50

• In memory of Raymond and Susan Dennis, Roy and Louise Drye, Hoy and Bonnie Drye, Donald and Shirley Payne and Linda Swink, by Pete and Linda Drye, $100

• In loving memory of my family, James and Georgia Ryan, Jimmy and Mike, by Kathy R. Stoessel, $25

• In memory of John and Catherine Kirk, and in honor of their children Mary Anne, Johnny, Margie, Jay, Cathy, Rita and Betty, by Joseph Kirk, $25

• Paul and Lynn Weisler, $250

• In honor of Mark Wineka with much gratitude for his years of excellent writing and editing, by Mark and Jane Ritchie, $100

• In honor of Ott and Julie Pinkston, by Dorothy Pinkston Atkinson, $100

• In memory of my parents Betty and Jim Shuping, and in honor of my grandsons, Emmett and Owen Cooper, Jack and James Schnepper, by Terri Correll, $100

• In honor of Wilbert and Carolyn Lyerly, by Jean Ray, $200

• In honor of Patricia Corriher, by Jeanette Yost, $25

• The Eagle Heights Meet and Greet group, $110

• In honor of all our shut-in members, by the Adult Sunday School class of Union Lutheran Church, $25

• In memory of Lettie Mabry and Leslie Tucker, by Linda and Terry Thomas, $100

• In memory of John Ross Parnell, by Patsy Parnelle, $50

• In memory of Daisy Fink, by J.A.C.K — Janet, Ann, Cynthia and Kathy, $100

• Kevin Dennis, $100

• In memory of Marvin Herring, Bill Ward and James and Ruby Porter, by Arnold and Brenda Herring, $100

• In memory of Mr. and Mrs. Harold Knox Roberts Sr., by Annette and Hap Roberts, $1,000

• The Howard Brown Agency, $100

Daily total: $2,660
Grand total: $35,434

About Natalie Anderson

Natalie Anderson covers the city of Salisbury, politics and more for the Salisbury Post. She joined the staff in January 2020 after graduating from Louisiana State University, where she was editor of The Reveille newspaper. Email her at or call her at 704-797-4246.

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