The stories have different starting points.
One family came to Clovis from Arizona to care for sick parents, and medical expenses wiped out their savings. Another family is uncertain if their place of employment may be closing.
The ending points are all the same for about 300 families. They’re coming to the Salvation Army because they need help making Christmas a special time.
Friday marks the launch day for Freedom New Mexico’s Empty Stocking program, in partnership with The Salvation Army.
Every day until Christmas, a local family in need of assistance for the holidays will be profiled in the CNJ and PNT. Donations will be accepted through the end of the year, but, to aid in distribution, Co-Officer Rachel Gallop said the Salvation Army is asking clothing or toy donations be made by Dec. 16.
Between trees at North Plains Mall and Wal-Mart in Clovis, Gallop said there are 500 “Angel tags” for children and seniors. The charity will take donations of money and toys to help make Christmas better and supply meals for around 300 seniors.
“With the Empty Stocking Fund, we are really trying to focus on the seniors,” she said. “ There are a lot of needy seniors in Clovis who don’t have families.”
Last year’s effort brought in around $3,000, Gallop said, and the goal is $5,000 this year.
“They’re just so giving,” Gallop said of eastern New Mexico residents. “We’ve been in Las Vegas (Nev.), and we’ve had to buy gifts. At the end (during our last year in Las Vegas), there are a lot of angels that nobody took. Last year, we didn’t have to buy any toys.”
For information or to donate to a Salvation Army Christmas project, call Jim Gallop at 762-3801 or visit 317 E. Second St.
The Clovis News Journal is accepting Empty Stocking Fund donations at the newspaper office at 521 Pile St.
Donations may be mailed to the CNJ at P.O. Box 1689, Clovis, N.M. 88102. Envelopes should be clearly marked to indicate they contain a donation for the Empty Stocking Fund.
All contributions will be forwarded to the Salvation Army.
The Clovis News Journal and Portales News-Tribune sponsor the Empty Stocking Fund and will continue to accept donations until the end of the year.