LIMA — With less than one week until Christmas, some are still left wondering whether they will have gifts under their trees on Christmas morning.
The Empty Stocking Fund program is wrapping up as Christmas looms closer. The Lima News Marketing Director Bill Clinger said the fund has raised between $22,000 and $23,000 to date this year, but the fundraising goal is around the $40,000 mark.
“It appears that we’re ahead of where we were last year a little bit,” Clinger said Monday. “We are at around $22,000 to $23,000 in funds, plus another few thousand dollars worth of gifts that will go to the families.”
The Empty Stocking Fund benefits three cooperating agencies: Bradfield Community Center, Cheryl Allen Southside Community Center and the Salvation Army. Those in need sign up through the three centers and The Lima News features their stories every day in the newspaper from Thanksgiving until Christmas Day.
“I think it’s going really well,” said Salvation Army Major Phil Tamayo on Tuesday. “We greatly appreciate all the support from the community.”
Tamayo said his organization greatly appreciates when giving is up, which he said it has been this year.
“I always am so grateful for everything this community gives and we are very pleased to be able to provide some families and kids with Christmases,” he said. “And now, we’re focusing more on the fundraising aspect of it, not so much the toys anymore.”
Bradfield Community Center had its event called “Holiday Happenings” on Saturday, that used some of the Empty Stocking funds to contribute to local seniors and families, something that was new this year, Clinger said. The center is also doing a holiday event for seniors only on Thursday.
“All three agencies receive in different amounts,” he said. “At this particular point, it seems like things are moving pretty smoothly.”
Cheryl Allen Southside Community Center does a breakfast with Santa that will take place at 9 a.m. Saturday for children from kindergarten to sixth grade.
To date, the fund has raised $540,760. In 2011 alone, $43,185 was raised and in 2010, $47,419.
“The donations continue to come in,” he said. “Every year, we get surprised when new people or new organizations or new businesses say, ‘Hey instead of doing this, let’s donate to the Empty Stocking Fund.’ It really is a neat thing.”