LIMA — If there’s any question the Empty Stocking Fund makes for a brighter Christmas, just ask Nora.
Nora, featured in the series on Nov. 24, takes care of a grandson who was born addicted to heroin and with a cleft palate and deficient airway. She just wanted to provide her grandchildren a better Christmas.
One thoughtful reader, a retired nurse, called to volunteer her time. She plans to take care of the children several times a month, donating her time to help relieve Nora’s stress.
“We’ve hooked the two of them up so the she can donate her time to the care of those children,” said Jolene Molaski, the marketing coordinator for The Lima News, one of the Empty Stocking Fund’s partners.
The program wraps up its series of daily stories in The Lima News today, highlighting the needs of people throughout the region. The generosity of donors has brought in more than $41,00 for those in need this year. In addition to donations for individuals profiled in the series, the program helps events at the Bradfield Community Center, Cheryl Allen Southside Community Center and the Salvation Army. This year, it helped fund the “Breakfast with Santa” at the Cheryl Allen Center and a pair of “Holiday Happenings” for families and the elderly at Bradfield. It also worked with the “Barbers Give Bikes” program to distribute 50 bicycles.
“We’re happy to assist with bringing Christmas gifts to those who need them,” said Kurt Neeper, marketing director for Superior Federal Credit Union, which donated $5,000 to the program this year. “No kid should have to go through the Christmas season without a gift to open. The Empty Stocking Fund and the agencies it works with are wonderful.”
Superior handled the largest donation from an individual this year — $1,000 — from a person who wished to remain anonymous.
Businesses and classes often chip into the fund as their holiday cause. Elida Middle School pupils voted to collect loose change for the program. They brought in totes full of change. Workers at Menlo Logistics annually donate to the program, as well.
That type of thoughtfulness is obvious to those who benefit from the program. You can ask Jon, who injured three vertebrae in his neck during basic training with the National Guard, preventing him from serving or much else for that matter. He can’t lift more than 10 pounds now.
Having his story featured kicked the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve into action, working through the bureaucracy to help Jon receive the care and benefits he needs to support his family.
The community also showed its support after Dec. 1’s story on Jessica. Her 1-year-old boy loved trucks and action figures. Within days, a number of toy trucks were donated.
This is the 21st year of the Empty Stocking Program.
“The community has supported the Empty Stocking Fund with more than $600,000 in cash donations and $200,000 in merchandise and services,” said Bill Clinger, marketing director of The Lima News.
Donations will still be accepted through the end of the year.
The Empty Stocking Fund benefits three cooperating agencies: Bradfield Community Center, Cheryl Allen Southside Community Center and the Salvation Army. Money can be donated by sending it to The Lima News, 3515 Elida Road, Lima OH 45807, or by dropping it off at any Superior Federal Credit Union branch. Donations of new toys and nonperishable food items will be accepted at The Lima News office. For past stories, go to LimaOhio.com/emptystocking. These stories use assumed names to protect the participants’ privacy.