LIMA — There’s no sadder vision than a child awakening on Christmas morning to find absolutely nothing in her stocking.
That’s the simple premise of the Empty Stocking Fund, a collaboration between The Lima News and three area agencies to help bring gifts to those who need them most. Over the past 25 years, countless holidays have been saved by the generosity of strangers via the fundraising campaign.
“There is no better gift during the holiday season, any time really, than the gift of helping others,” said Doug Olsson, publisher of The Lima News.
Every day through Christmas, The Lima News will share a story about a family in need in the region. Donations of cash and items fulfilling specific needs help make the holiday season brighter for each family.
People can donate money, nonperishable food items or new toys to the program at The Lima News, 3515 Elida Road, Lima. Monetary donations can be made at Superior Credit Union locations.
The program supports Christmas events at the Bradfield Community Center and Mizpah Community Center in Lima, as well helping the Salvation Army’s holiday efforts. Needy families with children apply for the Empty Stocking Fund through the Salvation Army.
There’s been a lot of help over those 25 years. The program donated $685,290 worth of holiday cheer over its first 24 years. Readers generously donated an average of $28,554 per year. Its highest tally was $47,420 in 2010.
Last year, readers donated an impressive $42,003 to help others. The goal this year is to raise $35,000.
That’s just from the cash donations. Some of the program’s most life-changing moments over the past 25 years came when someone had a rather specific need that a reader could meet.
One year, a program participant needed a handicapped accessible vehicle, only to have a reader donate it. Another year, there was a need for a washer and dryer, which volunteers happily brought down into the recipient’s basement. Last year, several readers offered to bring a dining room table and chairs to a couple who just wanted to “eat as a family” after damaging their own table during a move.
Every life is a life changed for someone whose luck and circumstances soured. Many of the people profiled in the stories have been through heartbreaking medical conditions, fires or unforeseen job losses.
“The Lima News is pleased to accept donations for this worthy cause celebrating its 25th year,” Olsson said. “Your efforts and generosity are so critical to those in need.”
Reach David Trinko at 567-242-0467 or on Twitter @Lima_Trinko.