The Valdosta Daily Times wants to take a moment to thank you, our readers, for donating money, contributing toys through the Outback Riders Toy Ride and more to the 2020 Empty Stocking Fund campaign.

Thank you for making this Empty Stocking Fund campaign one of the most successful in its decades-long history. Even amid a pandemic, you came through, and we can’t thank you enough for brightening the Christmas mornings of area youngsters.

Though Christmas has passed, the Empty Stocking Fund continues attracting contributions.

By donating this amount in 2020, the Empty Stocking should be able to help more children in Christmas 2021. The fund works a year ahead, raising money for the next Christmas season.

This year, the Empty Stocking Fund brought toys to more than 1,000 area children.

For about 70 years, The Valdosta Daily Times readers and the Salvation Army have worked to ensure no local child finds an empty stocking come Christmas morning. Guardian Bank handles the fund’s many donations.

This would not have been possible without the help of several people.

Margie Blanton and Guardian Bank handled the incoming donations daily for the past several weeks. She does an excellent job managing the funds and meeting many of the contributors.

Salvation Army Lts. Chris and Tasha Thomas shopped children’s wish lists to fulfill the promise of the Empty Stocking Fund then coordinated the toy pick-ups with parents and families.

For the eighth time, The Times included Empty Stocking Fund envelopes in early December editions; the envelopes brought in thousands of dollars in donations. Kent Buescher and US Press print the envelopes each year.

The Outback Riders Toy Ride brought in hundreds of toys and thousands of dollars in cash.

Whiskey River, a group of local folks, annually brings in thousands of dollars.

And, again, it would not be possible without you, our generous readers.

It is too easy to turn a blind eye, a deaf ear and a cold heart in this world, but you did not.

God bless you one and all.

May your coming new year be as full of joy as the joy you have brought to so many young people throughout Valdosta and Lowndes County.

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