LIMA — Too many stockings could’ve gone empty this holiday season.
One man and his girlfriend were doing OK raising two sons and an adult daughter. The daughter’s car accident and accompanying medical bills have them worried they won’t be able to afford Christmas gifts for the family, though.
A mother and her two sons were homeless, but now they have a safe place to stay. They’re trying to restart their lives with clothing and those little things that pop up in a new home. In the midst of that, providing Christmas presents seems like a far-off dream.
Another father suddenly got custody of his two children, ages 4 and 5, after their mother got into legal trouble. He’s struggled to provide for them as he started from scratch, but he’s doing his best to get them beds and clothes. Now he hopes to put some toys beneath a tree for them too.
These are among the dozens of people seeking a little extra help to make the Christmas season joyous. Readers of The Lima News and donors to The Salvation Army can help make their holidays merry and bright, through The Salvation Army’s new Adopt a Stocking program.
Adopt a Stocking replaces the Empty Stocking Fund, which disbanded following the 2017 holidays after raising nearly $750,000 over 26 years. That absence put pressure on The Salvation Army last year, when it couldn’t as easily help families in extra need.
“We’d love to replace that loss of income, which was more than $20,000,” said Major Debbie Stacy, of The Salvation Army in Lima. “It helps us to continue helping people all year long, not only at Christmas time.”
Each day until Christmas, The Lima News will share the story of one of these families in need of the community’s support, while using pseudonyms to protect their privacy. The Salvation Army chose participants from the applications it took during the Christmas sign-up process.
Donations can be made online at give.salvationarmy.org/stocking; by mail to Adopt a Stocking, c/o The Salvation Army, P.O. Box 234, Lima, OH 45802; or by dropping off at The Salvation Army, 614 E. Market St., Lima.
While donations are always valued, the real strength of the program is the volunteerism offered in the past, Stacy said. Often people would connect with The Salvation Army to provide services for people who had particular needs that touched their hearts. Material donations for a specific family should be dropped off at The Salvation Army, 614 E. Market St., Lima, and should include a copy of the article or the date the story appeared in The Lima News.
“I was pleased to see it revamped and continue. It’s an opportunity for the community to do more than just what The Salvation Army can do,” Stacy said. “Maybe someone can fix a doorway or provide a wheelchair. The community can pitch in with their skills and donations of time and resources to help us continue helping others.”
Often, the stories that most touch people are the ones involving children.
“You feel bad for the kids when things happen,” Stacy said. “They bounce back, but there are still issues. If we can provide a little cheer through Adopt a Stocking for the circumstances they’re facing, it makes it worth doing this.”
Reach David Trinko at 567-242-0467 or on Twitter @Lima_Trinko.