Help Them Hope - A Lake County Charity Assisting People In Need For More Than 48 Years


For 12-23-2023 Letter to the Editor

People Behind Help Them To Hope, Inc

This being our last Letter to the Editor, I feel compelled and honored to let Lake County donors to the Hope Fund campaign know the dedicated people who have made up the board of directors the last 24 years.

First, there is Robert Haymaker, the last-known surviving member of that pressroom crew that started HTTH in 1958. Bob fresh out of high school started his apprenticeship at the paper and was employed for 33 years.

Then we have Chris Brenner from the Editorial Department with 26 years at the paper; Warren Schaefer, composing room and internal data department, 34 years; Rosemary Alfredson, HTTH secretary, who worked 43 years at WKRS Radio and The News-Sun. Barbara Swanson, an attorney in Gurnee, joined the board in 2010. I was employed with the paper as a news boy, apprentice printer and ended as publisher with 38 years of full-time service to the paper.

And last but not least our dedicated webmaster Chris Szymanski, General Manager GoFLO, Inc for 18 plus years of service and creator of the Help To Hope, Inc website.

As you can see, these folks have been the backbone of this organization for quite some time. Their loyalty to continuing the Help Them To Hope campaigns has been as strong as their years of work history with the paper.

There have been others over the years when the paper was locally housed that contributed time and energy to the success of the Hope Fund as well. It isn’t often that we hear about a nonprofit with the number of years that HTTH has under its belt.

The board can say to the public that every single dime that has ever been donated during the annual Hope campaigns has gone right back into the well-being of our Lake County neighbors. We are extremely proud to be able to make this statement and close Help Them To Hope in this manner.

The Lake County people living here and those that have left over the years have been most loyal and generous in the annual campaigns. It is our hope that everyone involved --- givers and receivers of the Hope fund --- have been blessed in some way. You all deserve it.

Richard A. Ribando
Retired publisher 



For 12-16-2023 Letter to the Editor

Help Them To Hope Stepped Up To Help Local Agencies

Help Them To Hope has had thousands of donors over a period of 64 years to thank for what their dollars have done to help our neighbors in need in Lake County.

They made it possible for HTTH to provide seed money to the Lake County Community Social Services to open its food pantry in the late 1990s. Deacon Mudd from St. Bart’s Church on 8th Street, assigned to lead the project, came to HTTH when he had exhausted his efforts to obtain support.

HTTH provided them with their first donation of $2,500 to purchase food for the new pantry. Since that time, this local group has expanded its operation to include a soup kitchen, housing for single homeless mothers and a clothing shop.

HTTH has provided dollars to Mothers Trust Foundation since 2008. This organization works with Lake County schools to provide kids with shoes, gloves, coats, school supplies, and opportunities to participate in after-school activities.

The News-Sun and HTTH participated in St. Martin de Porres introduction to the Waukegan community and participated in a mentoring program the first two years after the school’s opening. The News-Sun provided special advertising opportunities during that time, introducing the Cristo Rey St. Martin de Porres College Prep to the area.

There was an occasion in 2001, when the local PADS agency was informed that they had lost a $400,000. grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban development. HTTH stepped up and extended that year’s campaign to assist in the loss of funding an additional 15 days.

As circumstances and new challenges faced Lake County residents, HTTH recognized that the basic needs of food, shelter and clothing had to be expanded. The policy from 1959 has been that HTTH money is restricted to fund basic programs that take into account basic needs of individuals.

Money from HTTH could only be used to fund programs, not to be used for payroll, and other organization expenses. Funding in recent years has been granted to several social service agencies that provide counseling services to children recovering from several forms of trauma as a basic need. All HTTH money is granted to social services agencies that support all communities of Lake County.

Thanks to you, the HTTH donors, HTTH has worked diligently to allocate dollars where they are needed the most. Thank you again for the support you have given to this “Act of Kindness” each holiday season since 1959.

Richard A. Ribando
Help Them to Hope, Inc. 

For 12-09-2023 Letter to the Editor

Help Them To Hope During the Copley Press Years

The Hope fund gained a great deal of backing from the ownership of The News-Sun by Copley Press. Company President Helen Copley encouraged community involvement in her local newspapers.

During the years the paper was owned by Copley Press, the Help Them To Hope fund received yearly contributions during its annual campaigns. Board representation was encouraged with representatives from each of the major departments within the paper.

In one of the Copley years, the HTTH campaign totaled in excess of $84,000. During the ownership by Copley, the Hope fund received a total of $61,500 from the Copley Foundation and picked up all of the administration costs of the nonprofit just as the Just family had done prior to the sale of the paper in 1984.

By 1996, Copley had eliminated local publishers and Richard Ribando was named general manager of the daily operations of The News-Sun. Ribando then took the position of HTTH president, a position he has held since that time.

In 2000, Copley Press sold The News-Sun and all its Illinois newspapers to Hollinger International Newspapers, owners of the Chicago Sun-Times. Hollinger reinstated local publishers at all its papers and Ribando became publisher.

The HTTH Board of Directors continued as its own entity in partnership once again with a new owner of the paper. Ribando retired in 2006 after 38 years of employment with the paper and remained as HTTH board president.

Help Them To Hope continued with its board made up of News-Sun employees until 2009 when Hollinger International filed for bankruptcy and the assets of the paper were sold. Help Them To Hope was now faced with an uncertain partnership with the Tribune Co.

With no more News-Sun employees to participate, the HTTH board of directors sought out News-Sun retirees to continue operation of the HTTH fund campaigns moving forward. For HTTH to continue, the board of directors needed to make a decision to take on all the expenses of the nonprofit. The board has remained together with only two newer board members. Both have 10 years of loyal service to this endeavor. The HTTH board has a cumulative of 129 years of service from 1996 to 2023.

Next, it’s time to share some firsts for local organizations that only had HTTH come to their aid with seed money to create or sustain their nonprofit programs in Lake County.

Richard A. Ribando
Help Them To Hope, Inc


For 12-02-2023 Letter to the Editor

Help Them To Hope Begins 64th Campaign.

It is the time of year that the traditional Help Them To Help campaign kicks off. This year, our 64th public campaign, and the 65th year of existence will be the last Hope campaign.

You may ask why a well-established fund campaign would come to an end. Well, as many readers know, the Hope Fund was started by Waukegan News-Sun pressmen in 1958. The fellows gave money left at the end of the year from their coffee kitty to create an act of kindness for the less fortunate.

That money was co-mingled with other money from the Chicago Pressroom’s Union and as tradition it was given to a young widowed printer’s wife and her infant son. The money was used to finance mother and son’s trip back home to England where she had family.

When Bernice Just, a News-Sun columnist, found out about the pressmen’s gesture of kindness she spoke to Publisher F. Ward Just. The publisher approached the pressmen asking if they had plans to continue this endeavor.

They said they wanted to do something to help the less-fortunate in Lake County. Just suggested they go public and that the newspaper would cover all costs associated with a Hope campaign. The first public campaign was in 1959.

Over the years Lucille “Dink” Porett cared for the administration and promotion of the HTTH funds until her retirement in 1980. Bob Amann then took over the reins of HTTH.

Publishers of the paper acted as president of the Hope Fund board. In 1976, the Internal Revenue Service and the State of Illinois ruled a nonprofit had to be chartered with the state and registered with the IRS as a 503© nonprofit.

The official Help Them To Hope, Inc., nonprofit was created independent of the paper. From this point forward by-laws were created and a board of directors and a president of the organization were elected. In 1984 Keystone Printing was sold to Copley Press, turning over ownership of WKRS Radio, The Independent-Register newspaper, Hampton Greeting Card Co., and The News-Sun to the new owner. The Hope Fund gained a great deal of backing from Copley, keeping the Hope Fund strong in the public eye.

And here we are in 2023 beginning our 64th public campaign. The board, made up of mostly retired News-Sun employees, has collectively a total of 129 years of service on the board since 1996. We will let you ponder the average board member’s age.

There is more history upcoming in future letters to the editor.

Richard A. Ribando
Retired publisher/president
Help Them To Hope, Inc. 




Help Them To Hope Is Partnered With:

Website designed and maintained by