Thank you, readers, for coming through as never before at Christmas for thousands of needy children and elderly residents.
Contributions to The Charlotte Observer’s annual Empty Stocking Fund this year surged to a new record: $362,750. That’s an increase of about 20 percent, compared with last year.
Also, more of you donated, and in larger amounts, than last year.
For more than 90 years, the fund has helped the Salvation Army’s Christmas bureau provide gifts for those least fortunate. This year, families of nearly 12,000 children registered with the bureau after documenting their financial need. The bureau also assisted seniors registered in its Silver Bells program.
Over the past month, Observer reporter Mark Price has written about the wide range of circumstances that led people to stand in line overnight in the cold in hopes of being registered. Many had lost jobs or faced staggering medical bills. Often, families needed help for children they had rescued from neglect.
Price said he was gratified that readers decided these recipients deserved a helping hand.
“I admire our readers,” Price said. “They were willing to take the leap of faith.”
As of Friday, 2,534 individuals and groups had contributed to the fund, a 12 percent increase over last year. Donations ranged from $5 to $10,000 and averaged $143, versus $131 in 2013.
All who donated were invited to be listed in print and online. Many took the opportunity to recognize others who similarly had shown them compassion. “In memory of our mothers,” wrote one donor. “In honor of our teachers,” wrote another. “In honor of my great-grandchildren,” wrote another.
There was also this, attached to one donation. “To whom much is given, much is required.”
On behalf of everyone at The Charlotte Observer, we sincerely thank you for sharing so generously this holiday season. Your giving spirit lifts and inspires us all.
A list of donors
Reach Rick Thames at email@example.com or 704-358-5001.