As you read this, there is likely less than a mere 24 hours left in the 2017 version of the Empty Stocking Fund. It could be the most important hours of the month-long collection effort.
For those who may not have been paying attention, the Empty Stocking Fund is an event between mid-November and mid-December by the Bladen Journal that urges monetary contributions from the Bladen County community. The money collected is then distributed to low-income families in the county — through gift cards to Walmart and Leinwand’s — so their children can have a merrier Christmas.
As this is being written late on Friday, the coffers stand at $6,296 — a far cry from last year’s post-Hurricane Matthew total of $7,578 and what seems like light years from the unofficial goal of $12,000.
While there is concern in our collective heads, there remains hope in our hearts that the final hours will produce a Christmas miracle. After all, there are many Bladen County children who are depending on it.
To date, we have received a total of 15 gifts for the Empty Stocking Fund — most from individuals, but a few from local organizations and church groups. To each of them, we give our most heartfelt thanks.
But there are many other individuals and groups out there that, so far, have let the clock tick down. So it is now that we are appealing to a few specific groups in the hopes we can encourage them to give.
At the top of our list are all of those groups the Bladen Journal has helped over the past year to publicize their own events and fundraisers — and, in many case, even covered those events for presentation in the newspaper and on the website. To a small degree, we had a part in the success of those events, and now we are hoping those groups will return the favor by helping with our event — much like the folks with the Classic Cruisers Car Club, Trinity Methodist Men’s Club and the Clarkton Lions Club have already done.
Another major group we urge to participate is the business community — which is an area that annually represents a huge hole in the Empty Stocking Fund effort. Although there have been a couple of regular givers, like Star Telephone, and a few intermittent givers, like Smithfield Packing, the general business community has been sadly missing. As the community patronizes these businesses, we hope they give a little back to that community with even a small donation.
Also on the list are those associated with each of Bladen County’s 13 schools. For the past year, we have publicized everything from honor rolls to athletic events; academic competitions to fundraisers; staff recognition to new coaches; and more. The best thank-you we could think of would be a monetary collection for the Empty Stocking Fund that would, essentially, be returned to serve their students in need.
And then there are the individuals — from teens to adults. Each has the ability to give from their heart in the spirit of Christmas. We know everyone gets pulled in numerous directions this time of year, from the Salvation Army’s bell-ringers at the kettles to Toys For Tots to providing their own gifts for the family. But if anyone is able to rub even four quarters together, we’d love to see those quarters delivered to the Empty Stocking Fund jar in our front office because, well … every little bit helps.
And if an additional incentive is needed, we’d sure like to finally put our editor on the Bladen Journal roof for 24 hours. That will take another $5,704 before 5 p.m. Wednesday.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“It is more difficult to give money away intelligently than it is to earn it in the first place.” (Andrew Carnegie)