Valdosta Daily Times

January 9, 2014

High donations, new space needed for Empty Stocking Fund

The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — With donations still arriving two weeks after Christmas, The Times again wishes to thank all of our readers for the support of the Empty Stocking Fund.

This holiday season did not reach the record set in 2012 of more than $30,000 raised, but at nearly $29,000 in donations, 2013 was one of the fund’s best years ever.

The Empty Stocking Fund ensured that nearly 900 Valdosta and Lowndes County children did not find an empty stocking come Christmas morning.

The Salvation Army and Guardian Bank, The Times’ partners in the generations-old Christmas fundraiser, respectively purchased toys for the youngsters in need and managed the account. Times readers sent numerous donations through the Empty Stocking envelopes offered inside early December editions of the newspaper.

Each year, money raised during one Christmas season is gathered to purchase toys for the next Christmas. The amount of money raised now determines how many children can be helped come Christmas 2014.

So will the location of the toy giveaway.

For several years, the Salvation Army utilized a Five Points warehouse for toy distribution. With its massive space, the Five Points site allowed the Empty Stocking Fund to register as many kids as it could afford.

As of this past season, the warehouse was no longer available and the Salvation Army had to use the smaller confines of the gymnasium of its Troup Street facility. Salvation Army Capt. Monica Nickum hopes to find another warehouse setting to use for the 2014 Empty Stocking distribution date.

Though Christmas is behind us, and the Empty Stocking Fund campaign does not kick off again until Thanksgiving 2014, people may donate to the fund any time of the year, and donations may still be sent to: Empty Stocking Fund, c/o Margie Blanton, Guardian Bank, P.O. Box 3340, Valdosta, Ga. 31604.

To help the Salvation Army with potential warehouse space for Empty Stocking toy distribution, contact Capt. Monica Nickum, (229) 242-6440.