It's good news, bad news for Empty Stocking
Monetary donations fall short, threaten next year's plans

Bruce Alsobrook | News-Telegram Editor

Dec. 14, 2004 -- Good news: The Empty Stocking program has enough toys this year to ensure an estimated 1,400 children in Hopkins County won't go without Christmas gifts.

Bad news: Next Christmas isn't looking so promising.

And that's really bad news.

While generous donations of toys have helped Empty Stocking meet its ambitious goal of making sure no child has to go without a Christmas present, monetary contributions have fallen well short of the norm this season.

"I've never finished a Christmas season with less than $10,000," Empty Stocking board member Gena Watson said of the project's bank account. "This year we only have $6,100."

That's especially troubling because Empty Stocking depends on donations of money in December to buy the vast majority of the toys it distributes at wholesale toy market shows in the spring.

"Most of the money gets spent in March, and most of it is donated in December," Watson said. "Nobody gives us money in March."

The ability to buy the gifts in bulk may be more important now than ever due to the ever-rising number of families in need. Consider that two years ago Empty Stocking brought toys to more than 1,100 children in the community who might otherwise have gone without Christmas gifts. This year, Watson said, the number is closer to 1,400.

"And there will be a lot of people show up on Saturday that we don't know about," she said.

A donation box has been set up for Empty Stocking at Community Bank, located at 1404 South Broadway St., or tellers will accept the donations at the bank for the project.

Monetary donations can also be made year 'round to: Project Empty Stocking, P.O. Box 2218, Sulphur Springs, TX 75483.

For more information, call Gena Watson at 903-885-1534

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