TIMMINS – A holiday tradition more than a century old continued on Tuesday as elementary school children received Christmas gifts courtesy of the late Frederick W. Schumacher.
Nearly 200 students with Schumacher addresses were greeted by members of the Schumacher Volunteer Fire Department inside the McIntyre Ballroom that evening, eager to tear into a beautifully wrapped present that was just for them.
Schumacher, a business man and well-known philanthropist, was a Danish native who eventually settled in the United States. He was a pharmacist by trade who would eventually get into the gold mining industry and acquire a number of properties in the Porcupine Gold Camp.
In 1916, he began the gift exchange program when he used his own money to purchase gifts for all the school children in the community.
“He decided that the children of the miners working in the area — and it wasn’t easy times — deserved the same as every other child, and took it upon himself to buy gifts for the children living in Schumacher at that time,” said Marty Delich, chairman of the F.W. Schumacher Committee.
In the early years, Schumacher personally selected the gifts and then shipped them to Schumacher for distribution to students at Schumacher Public School and Schumacher High School.
As time passed, the duties eventually fell to the principals of these schools and then finally, in 1979, to the Schumacher firefighters.
After his death in 1957, he left instructions with his estate to continue the tradition of giving gifts to Schumacher children through a trust set up in his name.
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