Nacogdoches Empty Stocking far away from reaching goal - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Nacogdoches Empty Stocking far away from reaching goal

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NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) -

The first of four toy distributions by Nacogdoches Empty Stocking is always a bit hectic. Numerous people lined the sidewalks in Northview Plaza Friday evening to pick up their donated gifts. Between now and tomorrow 400 families will show up expecting toys for their children. About the same number will receive toys next week.

This is the 41st year of toy distribution by Empty Stocking. This year they're no where close to meeting a $35,000 goal.

"We're really below by about $20,000," said Sherry Williford, Empty Stocking Fund Chair.

The shortfall is attributed to several factors.   

The economy may have caused people to drop less money into the pot during a three day around the clock fund drive.

Volunteers believe a bigger cause was a familiar insert was missing in the local newspaper.    

"A lot of our contributions have come through the paper, through an envelope that's been placed in the paper and the envelope was inadvertently not able to be in the paper this time," said Williford.

Donations can still be mailed or dropped off at the Daily Sentinel or Child Protective Services in Nacogdoches.

"We're grateful for all the people that has donated so far," assured Williford.

Aside from looking for donations, volunteers are searching for toys. Pre ordered toys for 2,000 children weren't available in a timely manner.

"We always try to get our toys in ahead of time so it doesn't put a hurt on anybody else, the community when they're out there shopping and all, but we, this year, we are having to pull stuff off the shelves," said Williford.

Empty Stocking is not given a special price by local retailers, so the thousands of dollars in toy purchases contribute to the local economy. Empty Stocking volunteers conduct fundraising efforts that benefit the current year and help prepare for the next. Unused donations are invested to earn more money for the following year.

Another factor is there are at least six organizations raising money to buy toys for Nacogdoches children. The non profits realize they must coordinate their efforts.

"We're trying to work together so that we don't have duplication happening," said Williford.

Empty Stocking volunteers say they'll make sure every applicant receives something on Christmas morning. However, more donations would help ease these Santas' nervousness.

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