ELIZABETHTOWN — Led by Trinity United Methodist Men’s Club and Star Telephone, five new gifts were delivered to the Bladen Journal late in the week for the newspaper’s annual Empty Stocking Fund, more than doubling the previous amount received.
The collection, which benefits Bladen County families who need help giving their children a merrier Christmas, has just hours left. Donations can be made through 5 p.m. on Wednesday — although money received after that will still be accepted and be put toward next year.
The five gifts pushed the overall total so far to $6,296.
“The donations we received Thursday and Friday were tremendous,” said W. Curt Vincent, general manager and editor of the Bladen Journal. “With some luck and generous area residents, we might surpass last year’s total.”
It looks doubtful, however, that the coffers will reach $12,000 — he amount needed to put Vincent on the Bladen Journal roof for 24 hours on the weekend before Christmas.
“Well, I’m both disappointed and relieved,” Vincent joked. “While I’d love to see us be able to help the number of children that $12,000 would allow, I’ve tried to imagine what 24 hours would be like up there — and it’s not pretty.”
The five gifts received late in the week have been added to the top of the list, giving the Empty Stocking Fund a total of 17 contributors. They are:
— Paul and Elizabeth Albritton of Wilmington, $100
— Trinity Methodist Men’s Club, $2,500
— In memory of Margie Evans, $100
— Star Telephone, $1,281
— Phoebe P. McGavock, $100
— Cain Family Dinner, $200
— Beth Car Presbyterian Church (Tar Heel) Women’s Circle, $100
— Anonymous, $100
— Kenneth & Gwen Thompson of Bladenboro, $25
— Andrew & Adrianne Petitt of Bladenboro, $100
— Adult Sunday School class at Beth Car Presbyterian Church in Tar Heel, $300
— Anonymous, $40
— In honor of Barbara L. McKoy, $200
— Anonymous, $500
— Phillip & Debi Warwick of Elizabethtown, $200
— Clarkton Lions Club, $50
— Classic Cruisers Car Club, $400
Vincent urges individuals, businesses, church groups, school groups and civic organizations to consider supporting the Empty Stocking Fund effort with a donation of any size.
Donations can be made by sending a check to “Empty Stocking Fund” and mailed to P.O. Box 70, Elizabethtown, N.C. 28337; or bringing a cash donation to the Bladen Journal office at 138 W. Broad St. in downtown Elizabethtown. With advance notice, a donation can also be picked up by calling 910-862-4163.
Those who donate $250 or more will have the opportunity to have a photo taken for publication in the Bladen Journal. All donations will be listed in the newspaper as they are received, and donations can be made anonymously or in memory of someone.