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$548,884.65.

That's the final tally for the 2012 Goodfellows campaign.

That's more than $90,000 in donations since we reported a Christmas Day record of $458,225.28 (and nearly $31,000 since our last report on Dec. 31).

That's the fifth straight year for a final total to exceed the $500,000 mark. (The record is $575,047.60, set in 2009.)

That's wonderful news for The World-Herald's charity and the people it helps throughout the year, said Goodfellows Executive Director Joel Long.

“I am pleased and grateful that World-Herald readers have come through once again,” Long said. “These dollars will truly make a difference in the lives of our needy neighbors, year round.”

Every dollar donated to Goodfellows goes to assist those in need; The World-Herald pays all the costs of operating the program.

The cornerstone of Goodfellows is its year-round emergency assistance. Long said that one-time assistance can make the greatest difference because, in many cases, working families don't qualify for aid from other charities. Goodfellows can address their emergency and get them back on track.

Goodfellows partners with United Way, Heartland Family Service, Catholic Charities and ENCAP to connect funds to those in need.

More than $450,000 in Goodfellows emergency aid will be distributed this year.

During Christmastime, nearly 1,500 families — representing 4,835 people — received vouchers they could redeem at area grocery stores for a holiday meal.

In all, more than 6,100 families will be helped and more than $550,000 in aid given before Goodfellows closes its fiscal year in February.

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