It's the first sign that The Eagle Santa Fund campaign is officially underway: Alan Righi's check has arrived.

Since moving from Boston to the Berkshires in 1979, Righi has been one of the first — if not the first — to drop a check in the mail before Thanksgiving.

And this year was no different.

The Berkshire Eagle reports the Santa Fund, entering its 89th year, is a nonprofit corporation that distributes holiday gift certificates redeemable at Walmart, allowing families to choose gifts for their children ages 3 to 11. Children 2 or younger receive a gift chosen by the Santa Fund.

The Eagle Santa Fund's goal is $45,000 from roughly mid-November through Jan. 1. Last year, the fund raised over $57,000, which helped hundreds of children in the Pittsfield area have an enjoyable Christmas and holiday season.

The majority of the donations come from individuals, with a number of contributions courtesy of special fundraisers like the pasta dinner, which, this year, is hosted by the local chapter of UNICO. This year's meal will be served Dec. 13 at Hillcrest Academy in Pittsfield.

Donations can be mailed to The Eagle Santa Fund, 75 South Church St., Pittsfield, MA 01201, or dropped off at The Eagle office.

Contributions can be listed in the donor's name, in memory of loved ones or anonymously. Donors and their contributions will be listed in The Eagle, unless otherwise noted. A donation form can be found in the newspaper, and to ensure that your contribution is listed by Christmas Day, it must be received no later than Dec.18.