Tour of Good Cheer Brings Christmas Joy to Joseph’s Home

From left: Tour of Good Cheer Founder Dick Clough, Sr. Joan Gallagher, CSA, Joseph’s Home Executive Director Christine Horne

Dick Clough loves celebrating Christmas and the spirit of giving. He loves both so much he celebrates every year by giving away nearly 9,000 pieces of clothing, toys and gift cards to more than 1,500 adults and children.

After his divorce in 1984, Clough was looking for something to do for Christmas. He filled his car with plush animals, drove them to St. Vincent Charity Medical Center and gave them to patients. That marked the start of the Tour of Good Cheer, which has delivered tens of thousands of coats, sweaters, gift cards, toys and necessities to adults and children in need at multiple locations throughout its 34-year history.

The Saturday before this Christmas, Clough, 85 volunteer “elves” and a fleet of four buses filled with the volunteers and gifts visited 10 facilities, including stops at St. Vincent Charity and Joseph’s Home. The Tour of Good Cheer has been making a stop at Joseph’s Home for more than 10 years, when Clough began serving on the board of directors, including a stint as the board chair.

“The tour is what I have been doing to celebrate Christmas for the past 34 years (this year is the 35th anniversary). The project has dramatically grown over the years, but the premise remains the same for all who support it… demonstrating the true meaning of Christmas and the holidays.”

Sister Joan Gallagher, CSA, one of the sisters who helped found Joseph’s Home and served as its first executive director, has been involved with the tour for several years. She has served as one of the volunteers who help sort thousands of clothing items for distribution at the various stops, as well as leading a prayer on the buses at the beginning of each tour.

“I pray that each person recognizes the gifts that we are giving and that we will receive. For most people, the tour expresses the true meaning of Christmas,” she said.

After 34 years of overseeing the Tour of Good Cheer, Clough has been laying the foundation for others to continue the tour’s legacy. He formed the Loving Hands Foundation to operate the tour and raise funds to support it after he retires in the next few years.

“We have an awesome volunteer base and a new generation of supporters who will carry the Tour of Good Cheer into the future,” he said.

That’s good news for Joseph’s Home and the residents who enjoy receiving Target gift cards that they can use to purchase clothing and other necessities for themselves, bringing not only Christmas cheer, but also a sense of dignity of being able to go to a store and purchase items that they choose.

“The men at Joseph’s Home are delighted to be recognized and treated with individual attention,” added Sr. Joan.