A beloved Gaston County tradition returns today with the kick off of The Gazette Empty Stocking Fund campaign.
The annual effort, which takes place between Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Eve, raises money for those in our community who have hit hard times during the holiday season.
It means toys for children, food for their families, and gifts for seniors. The campaign also raises the money the Salvation Army needs to run life changing programs like the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club and programming for the Catherine Booth Apartments for seniors.
This year 300 families have asked the Christian Ministry for help. About 800 children and 40 seniors will be helped this season.
“Without the donors to the Empty Stocking Fund, we wouldn’t be able to meet the need,” said Salvation Army Capt. Jonathan Raymer.
Year after year kindhearted Gazette readers do their part to make a difference.
Donations come in all sizes, from change collected by school children to large contributions from businesses like the employees of locally owned Watson Insurance. Sunday school classes, neighborhood groups, scout troops, and civic groups all do their part. And families have made giving a part of their holiday tradition, often for generations.
The Empty Stocking Fund shows just how much the people of Gaston County epitomize the word community.
The annual campaign provides readers with an opportunity to honor people who have made a difference in their lives as well as remember those who are no longer with us. Throughout the next month, The Gazette will be publishing the names of donors and listing their contributions online and in print
This year’s goal is again $100,000 and as donations come in each day we’ll be updating the amount raised on The Gazette’s website at GastonGazette.com and in print.
When the final contribution had been counted last year, the campaign had raised an amazing $103,378.90.
“Whatever each of us is blessed with every day, whether it is much or little, we can all have reason to celebrate this Thanksgiving and Christmas,” said Phill Morgan, Salvation Army of Gaston and Lincoln counties advisory board chairman. “Some persons have the capacity to give money in time and money while others struggle with life’s challenges. It takes the giving spirit and gratitude of receiving to both understand and appreciate the impact of seeing the smile and happiness on the face of a child and the warm heart of a parent on Christmas Day.
When you support The Gazette Empty Stocking Fund you will make dreams come true.”
Here’s how make those dream’s come true. Donations can be:
1. Mailed to The Gazette Empty Stocking Fund, P.O. Box 1538, Gastonia, NC 28053.
2. Brought to our lobby between 9 a.m. and noon and 1 and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, 1893 Remount Road, Gastonia.
The campaign continues until Christmas Eve when we will announce our final total.
Will MacDonald is The Gazette’s Lifestyle Editor. You can reach him at 704-869-1838 and by email at email@example.com.