12/13/07 — Children still need help for holidays

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Children still need help for holidays

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on December 13, 2007 2:17 PM

With just two days until the annual Christmas party to distribute gifts to needy children in the county, the Empty Stocking Fund has only met half of this year's goal.

On Saturday morning, more than 650 children are expected to line up to see what Santa Claus has for them.

Youngsters will not be disappointed, organizers say. While the funding may be low, there will be no empty stockings for children who show up for their gifts.

"All the tickets have been mailed out. The party will be Saturday at 9 a.m. at Dillard Middle School," said Barbara Sturm, business manager of the News-Argus.

This year's goal is $43,000, with $23,695 donated to date.

"Keep contributing!" Mrs. Sturm said this morning. "We desperately need it."

Although the party is only two days away and funding is down, money has already been spent to ensure Christmas comes again this year for needy families, she said.

"I think it's important for people to realize that they can certainly continue to help," said Hal Tanner, Jr., News-Argus publisher. "We're going ahead and have the party."

Children will receive a snack bag and entertainment will be provided, Mrs. Sturm said.

"Then they'll go up on stage, get a box of clothing, select a toy, see Santa and get a stocking filled with goodies," she said.

Many volunteers assist with the annual project, and there is no overhead, Mrs. Sturm said, so all money goes directly to provide for the children.

The annual tradition was started by the News-Argus in 1912, she said, and is considered the oldest charity in Wayne County.

But, Mrs. Sturm noted, its continued success will depend on the support of the public.

"People in Wayne County have always been very generous helping those less fortunate at Christmas time," Tanner said. "Please consider giving this year if they haven't already."

"It's such a joy to know that you can bring this kind of happiness to children at this time of year... . The community's always, always come together and gotten us through this," Mrs. Sturm added.

"The money's got to come."

Donations, which are tax-deductible, will still be accepted, and published in the paper through Jan. 1. They can be dropped off at the News-Argus or mailed to Empty Stocking Fund, P.O. Box 10629, Goldsboro, N.C. 27532.