The organization started in 1960.

"Canton's former newspaper boys, scattered throughout every walk of life, will stand up and be counted this week," The Canton Repository told its readers almost 60 years ago.

A "roll call" of the men who had carried newspapers as kids -- and who now wanted to reprise their roll as news hawkers to benefit children -- would be taken the following Tuesday at a meeting in the American Legion Hall in Canton, reported an article in the Repository on Sunday Oct. 9, 1960.

"The purpose will be to get the ball rolling in their newly formed charitable organization -- Canton Ex-Newsboys Association," said the article.

All individuals who wanted to join the charitable organization -- and more than 300 already had enrolled -- were asked to attend. Talk would focus the founding of an organization "dedicated to help needy school children."

Leaders of the Ex-Newsboys Association promised "100 percent" of the money raised from the sale of a charity edition newspaper sold just before Christmas would go to the children. The money would provide shoes and clothing for "school children in emergency situations," a cause that has been the mission statement of the group from the time of its formation.

As the Ex-Newsboys' historic 60th sale approaches Friday, those who contribute to the collection cans that members carry along with their charity newspapers can be assured that this goal remains the foundation of the Ex-Newsboys' day of hawking newspapers at businesses, corporations, shopping spots, public buildings, and familiar street corners.

"No School Child Shall Miss School For Need Of Shoes And Clothing."

Recognizable names

The Repository article noted that the idea for the Canton Ex-Newsboys Association was not new, although the dream to pursue forming one in Canton was conceived by a man who was a circulation department employee at the Repository, Joe Corsey.

"Almost every major city has a similar organization," the newspaper said in its 1960 introductory article. "The Canton association is patterned after the one in Toledo, which raised approximately $60,000 last year."

Most of the names of the earliest men involved in Canton Ex-Newsboys were recognizable to the community.

Officers were James Rahal, president, with Harold Wise and Samuel Dreyer named first and second vice presidents, respectively. Michael Esber was named treasurer and Corsey took on the duties of secretary, with Russell Carnes assistant secretary and historian.

All of those officers except Carnes were on the Ex-Newsboys' initial board of trustees, a body that also included Judge John Rossetti, Daniel Gennett, Robert Blocker, and J. "Babe" Stearn.

Chairmen of committees included Bud Volzer, paper composition; Bob Seaman, publicity; Vince Risko, sports promotion; Maurice Kime, sales, David Poparid, membership; Ben Appstein, special gifts; John Betros, purchasing; John S. Johns, finance; Victor Bernabei, program; and William Solomon, nominations.

Increased membership

Canton Ex-Newsboys Association had increased its membership to more than 400 by Dec. 9, 1960, Dick Logan, in his Repository column called "Food for Thought," further introduced those former newspaper carriers to readers.

"If the newsboys on the streets of Canton next Friday seem to look a little older than usual ... it's because they are!" wrote Logan. Members would be "enthusiastically selling special editions" for the school children, Logan explained. "We'll be on a corner ... so stop and buy a paper for this worthwhile cause."

There was no special price for the paper, President Rahal told the Repository in an article published on the front page of the newspaper Sunday Dec. 11, 1960. "Each 'newsboy' will get as much as he can from each customer," the newspaper explained. Years later one Ex-Newsboy would good-naturedly include the pricing structure in his sales pitch. "I want to see folding money going into this can," he would tell his customers, with a smile. "I don't want to hear it jingle ..."

Still, in 1960 any donation was appreciated by the fledgling organization.

Newspaper support

As one would expect, the charity edition received heartfelt support from the Repository and its employees. Bob Seaman, who worked at the newspaper, wrote and organized copy for that first charity edition.

"Repository printers, stereotypers and pressmen are contributing their time to set the newspaper into type, cast the plates and print it," said the article.

Although sale of the newspaper -- then and now --  was spread out over a wide area of the city, plans for that initial sale in 1960 called for "men to blanket downtown Canton to make street corner sales -- just as they did in the old days."

An article published in the Repository on the local section front of the Repository on Dec. 12, 1960, the Monday before the Ex-Newsboys charity edition sale that year, reminded its readers.

"Friday has been proclaimed Canton Ex-Newsboys Sale Day by Mayor Charles L. Babcock in recognition of a special newspaper sale which the Canton Ex-Newsboys Association will conduct that day," the article reported. "The proclamation issued today recommends support of the sale because it is a humanitarian cause. All proceeds will got into a special fund for needy children."

A front-page Repository photograph picturing Rahal with a "Canton Ex-Newsboys Association newspaper bag slung over his shoulder and a collection can hanging from a cord around his neck appeared in the Repository on Thursday Dec. 15, 1960, and served as an additional reminder of the pending sale.

On the day of the sale, reported the Repository, the Ex-Newsboys "gave Canton a good going-over for a 12-hour span" during a first charity edition sale that raised more than $6,000.

An editorial in the Repository that same day praised Ex-Newsboys and Canton residents for making the charity edition one that was "Sold Out!"

"Never did an organization for a good purpose get a project off the ground like Canton Ex-Newsboys," said the editorial in the Repository. "What impressed us most was the spirit that was evident in downtown Canton and wherever the old newsies were hawking their papers. We haven't seen so many smiles, so much warmth of feeling in a long time."