11/27/08 — Empty Stocking Fund will provide holiday for children

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Empty Stocking Fund will provide holiday for children

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on November 27, 2008 1:46 PM

With a little help, Christmas morning will come early for more than 600 children who, otherwise, would likely have no gifts this year.

Some come from broken homes.

Others have at least one parent who has lost a job.

But since 1912, children like them have found joy at the annual Empty Stocking Fund gift giveaway.

Each child will get a few toys, a stocking full of treats and a one-on-one with Santa Claus -- compliments of those who donate to the fund during its annual drive.

And if previous years are any indication of what is to come, there will be plenty of singing, dancing and laughter.

Fund coordinator Debbie Pennell said a donation to the Empty Stocking Fund is the perfect gift for the hard-to-shop-for friend or family member who has everything.

"They might consider making a donation in that person's name, in their honor," she said. "It's not only a great gift for them, but also for one of the kids out there whose parents can't provide them with a Christmas."

The Empty Stocking Fund is Wayne County's oldest charity.

It has never failed to reach its goal, and no qualified child has been turned away.

Ms. Pennell attributes that fact to a caring community, one she knows will step up this year as it has for the past 90-plus.

"Wayne County has never let us down," she said. "This is one of the most generous communities you will find. Without our friends, we would not be able to care for so many children every year. We are very grateful for their support."

The party will be held at 9 a.m. Dec. 13 at Dillard Middle School.

Volunteers from the Goldsboro Woman's Club, the Continental Society, the News-Argus and Spring Creek FFA will be on hand to see the children, parents and gifts out the door.

The Empty Stocking Fund was organized in 1912 by members of the Goldsboro Woman's Club, who were afraid that some children in the community would not receive anything for Christmas.

The club's members expressed their concerns to Col. Joe Robinson, founder and editor of the Daily Argus. Together they made a commitment: The newspaper would raise the money and the Woman's Club would see to it that the "stockings" of needy children would be filled at Christmastime.

This year's goal is to raise $41,000 to fill 640 stockings.

Donations may be brought to the newspaper office at 310 N. Berkeley Blvd., or mailed to P.O. Box 10629, Goldsboro, N.C., 27532.

Donations will be published in the News-Argus every day but Monday.