12/08/07 — So none is left out: Empty Stocking Fund makes sure Santa can complete his rounds

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So none is left out: Empty Stocking Fund makes sure Santa can complete his rounds

Christmas is for children.

There is something about the wonder in their eyes as they listen to the stories of Santa Claus and his eight tiny reindeer that just warms the heart.

And then, on Christmas morning, when they run to the tree, excited to see what Santa brought them — is there any more joy-filled sight?

Now, imagine a child living in poverty, with no idea if there will be food on the table for dinner, let alone worrying about which toy he or she will ask Santa Claus to bring.

The little one hears the story of the Jolly Old Elf and decides to hope that if he or she is really, really good, there just might be a gift under the tree on Christmas morning.

So, he or she sits down with a pencil and paper and writes the note.

This child does not ask for much — a doll or truck maybe. The rest of the letter is dedicated to requests for others in the family — a coat for mom, a game for a sibling or maybe even some socks or a dress for a beloved aunt.

The envelope is sealed and sent off with the rest of his or her class’s letters to Santa.

Christmas comes and the day is like any other. There is only a little money for food, shelter and to keep the house warm. There are no presents under the tree.

Can you imagine the sadness? Can you imagine the quiet tears as the little boy or little girl realizes that perhaps Santa just did not think he or she was good enough this year?

There are more stories like this than you think in Wayne County every Christmas.

The Empty Stocking Fund was created years ago to make Christmas special for all of the county’s children — no matter what their family’s income might be.

Through your kind and generous donations as well as the tireless work of a band of merry volunteers, hundreds of children are invited to a special party with Santa Claus and receive a new toy, some clothes and a stocking full of fruit and treats.

And for that day, they are special.

There are more than 650 children on our list this year — all of whom will not have a Christmas without the assistance of the Empty Stocking Fund.

If you could be at one of the parties, you would understand why your support and that party mean so much to these children and their parents.

There are more than a few stories of selflessness every year — a sibling more concerned that his little brother gets the perfect gift as he guides him to the pile of presents than whether there will be anything left for him; a young man who offers up all his savings — $1 — as a gift of thanks for the kindness he received; a mother so happy to have the chance to give her children a Christmas that she cannot hold back the tears; and children whose eyes light up when a teddy bear becomes their very own.

It really is what Christmas is all about.

And you, too, can be a part of it.

Every year we wonder if we can possibly get the money we need to make all of our needy children’s Christmas dreams come true. It can be touch and go some years.

And every year, you come through, giving us the resources we need to make sure that every child gets a gift, clothes and a treat stocking.

And this year is no different.

Please take the time to send what you can — and to dedicate your donation to someone special in your life.

What a wonderful Christmas gift — the chance to share the spirit of giving with someone you love and to remind your family that this holiday is not about Nintendos, iPods or Bratz dolls but remembering that love begins with thinking of others.

We promise to make sure Santa gives each child at this year’s party an extra hug from you.

Published in Editorials on December 8, 2007 11:40 PM