Today marks the official end to another Empty Stocking Fund effort, something the Bladen Journal has done for more years than anyone can remember — and this latest version has been as rewarding as any of the others.
Without any bit of doubt, the most rewarding part of the process is taking place today, when the parents or guardians visit our office to pick up their Empty Stocking Fund gifts.
Lisa Taylor, our customer service rep in the front office, had the pleasure of calling all of the applicants who had been selected by the Bladen County Department of Social Services to receive the Empty Stocking’s benefits — which this year again come in the form of a gift card from Walmart and/or Leinwand’s.
Many of those called were very appreciative and, in some case, that emotion showed itself with tears.
That scenario played itself out again today as folks came through the office to collect their cards. Most left here with something almost as rare as a gift card … a beaming smile on their face. And even others couldn’t mask their overwhelming emotion, and the tears flowed once again.
For those of us at the Bladen Journal, knowing we are giving someone some Christmas joy and about 200 children a happier Christmas day is the ultimate reward.
But we also have been rewarded every time someone sent a donation to the Empty Stocking Fund. We collected somewhere close to $10,000 this year with contributions ranging from $25 to $4,000. We can’t thank everyone enough who found it in their heart to give.
We also can’t thank our partners enough for helping to publicize the Empty Stocking Fund and assistance with managing the initial process. Those partners include the local DSS office and the Elizabethtown-White Lake Area Chamber of Commerce.
It is our hope those who collected their gifts will use them to brighten their children’s Christmas and put the notion in their hearts that people do care about them. And beyond that, we hope it will remain in their hearts long enough for them to someday pay it forward, as a contributor to a future Empty Stocking Fund effort.
With just a week to go, we wish y’all a happy, healthy and safe week before Christmas.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“We rise by lifting others.”