12/08/12 — Warm hearts: Community has helped make Christmas dreams come true.

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Warm hearts: Community has helped make Christmas dreams come true.

We wish you could have been there with us Saturday morning.

You would have been surprised how many people in Wayne County need help this Christmas -- and how grateful they were to receive it.

You would be humbled to know that one young man was there with his cousin -- because his mother was overseas serving in Afghanistan.

You might even have had a tear in your eye when you heard one of the boys who took home a remote control car express his astonishment and gratitude that he got a box of clothes and a stocking full of treats, too.

"We get all this?" he asked.

Makes you want to par down your own Christmas list, doesn't it?

You would have loved to see the smiles, the hugs and the youngsters who were so honest that, when asked if they had been good this year, were quick to admit they could have done better.

You would have probably joined in with the carol singing, and clapped loudly when some of the children were brave enough to share a few songs themselves.

And you would have been gratified to hear the number of parents who, with tears in their eyes, made sure we knew just how much being able to provide a Christmas for their children meant to them. And you would have been proud to see how many big sisters and brothers made sure their little siblings got their toys first.

And by the way, there were more than a few "Merry Christmases" exchanged throughout the morning -- and plenty of thank-yous.

The Empty Stocking Fund party is one of those events that reminds you just how blessed you are.  And every year, your generosity makes it possible.

We wish we could tell you that we have paid all the bills for this year's party, but we haven't, so we still need your help. We will take your donations through Christmas to make sure that this wonderful tradition can continue another 100 years. You can send them to us in care of the ESF, P.O. Box 10629, Goldsboro, NC 27532. And if you are free on Dec. 17, come on down to Christmas with the Embers at the Paramount Theatre -- a portion of those proceeds benefit the fund as well. Call 919-739-7810 for tickets.

If you could have seen those children, and how much they enjoyed their day, you would know what we know, that it is money very well-spent.

Thank you and Merry Christmas, from all of us to all of you.

Published in Editorials on December 8, 2012 11:48 PM