Press-Telegram readers dug deep and set a record in donations that will send more kids on a joyous, weeklong trip to mountain summer camps.

Not only did readers match the $25,000 gift from an anonymous donor, but they also contributed $95,514 overall to the 23rd annual Send-a-Kid-to-Camp fund. The $25,000 from the anonymous donor brought the total raised this year to $120,514 — smashing last year’s record of $106,678.

“Once more, Press-Telegram readers and the Long Beach area demonstrated their record-breaking levels of generosity,” Press-Telegram Senior Editor Tom Bray said in a statement. “A sincere thanks to all.”

Frank Newell, chairman of the Long Beach Community Foundation, which partners with the Press-Telegram in this campaign, said he was thrilled to be part of a program that allows so many kids to experience a wonderful week at camp. He thanked readers for their donations, which means “more kids than ever will have this potentially life-changing experience.”

Marcelle Epley, president and CEO of the Community Foundation, had an emphatic response to donors breaking the record — “Wow!” she said.

“If Tom Hennessy were here,” Epley said, “he would plop down in his chair, put his hand over his heart, shake his head and grin ear to ear at the readers’ generosity.”

Hennessy, the late Press-Telegram columnist, and Jean Bixby Smith, chair emeritus of the Community Foundation, started the kid-to-camp program 23 years ago.

“These kids are the future of our city, and the investment that readers made goes beyond just 2022,” Epley said. “These children will remember their experiences and it will shape who they become. Thank you, Press-Telegram readers. We are overwhelmed with your kindness and generosity.”

With the cost of sending one child to a week at a mountain camp averaging about $500, this year’s donations mean that approximately 240 kids will enjoy camps operated by the Big Five youth organizations: YMCA of Greater Long Beach, Boys & Girls Clubs of Long Beach, Camp Fire Angeles, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.

Officials with those youth organizations were enthusiastic in their praise of readers.

“We are so excited that this year’s Send-a-Kid-to-Camp campaign broke the record,” said Don Rodriguez, CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Long Beach. “This means so much, not only to the kids at our clubs but to all the youth in Long Beach. We are grateful to all of the readers who came together to give the opportunity to explore and learn about the great outdoors. They are all eager to get out in the fresh air!”

Georgia Stewart, executive director of Camp Fire Angeles, said she was “happy and amazed” at the readers’ generosity and thanked readers.

Readers “who encourage us by their incredible generosity to reach out into the community to find kids who need financial help,” Stewart said. “The legacy of Tom Hennessy, continued by the Press-Telegram and Community Foundation, fosters that real commitment.”

Matt Garcia, executive director of the Y’s Camp Oakes in the San Bernardino Mountains, said the success of the Press-Telegram’s kid-to-camp campaign “speaks to the unstoppable philanthropic spirit that lives deep in the heart of Long Beach.”

“We have had a record-breaking number of camp scholarship applications for this summer,” he said, “and, with this support, we will be able to say yes to every one of them!”

Marc Bonner, Scout executive and CEO of the local Boy Scouts, also praised P-T readers.

“The Press-Telegram readers are awesome! I am thrilled and energized to know that our community still believes in the transformative power of a camp in a kid’s life,” Bonner said. “For every kid we send to camp, we create another leader. The positive impact of camp reaps dividends not just for today but over the course of a lifetime.”

Jennifer Palmer, senior director of girl and volunteer experience for the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles, also thanked readers for their generosity.

That generosity “will give more girls the opportunity to experience the outdoors, which is core to the Girl Scout experience,” Palmer said. “Now, more than ever, girls couldn’t be more excited to get back to camp. They’ll meet new friends, experience new challenges and learn environmental stewardship – all while having lots of fun.”

The anonymous donor who contributed $25,000 — after readers met his condition of matching that amount from May 26 to the end of the campaign — was gratified by the response and will help send more kids to camp.

Reader donations fell $2,150 short of the $25,000 match by the original June 19 deadline, so the campaign was extended by one week. Readers responded quickly by contributing $8,693 to easily make the $25,000 match and then some — and surpassing lasy year’s record total.

One of the first readers to respond to the matching goal shortfall was Jim Gray, a banker and community leader, who donated $2,500, which by itself made the match possible.

“I can’t think of a better way to spend money than sending a kid to a camp,” Gray said, “where he or she will have their eyes open to so many great things in the great outdoors.”

A personal note: Once again, I was overwhelmed by the generosity of our readers, especially in difficult financial times. I can just see Tom and his wife, Debbie “the Duchess” Hennessy, up above, smiling and thanking readers for coming through again for “Tom’s Kids.”

A big thank you to all for your donations. Big or small, they all add up to making a difference in the lives of kids.

Send a Kid to Camp Donors

June 15-22: $8,693.67

Campaign total: $120,514

Donors this week: 26


  • Paul B. Bailey.
  • Nancy Buchanan.
  • Anonymous.
  • Marcelle Epley in honor of Tom Hennessy.
  • Kat Goyan.
  • Kristine Hale in honor of Jack Hale.
  • Al Hamlin.
  • Carol Herriage.
  • Anonymous.
  • Charlee Hutton in memory of Fran and Howard Hutton.
  • Thora and James Lamhofer.
  • Kay Mantoen in memory of Rodger Williams.
  • Richard and Wanda Mata.
  • Doris May.
  • Jim and Kathy McDonnell.
  • CD and Art Milas.
  • Lisa Mowery.
  • Tommy Nerman in memory of Nancy Durbin and Barbara Bolin.
  • Ilona Peterson – for my Dad.
  • Braden J. Phillips.
  • Joyce Ricci and Mike Donnelly.
  • Alan and Joyce Salz.
  • Anonymous .
  • John Tien for Tom and Debbie Hennessy.
  • Jacqueline Tien, and husband David Levin, in honor of my beloved parents.
  • James and Barbara Walders.