Empty Stocking program launches Friday

CNJ staff photo: Sharna Johnson The Salvation Army is hoping to raise $25,000 for this year’s Empty Stocking fund to help families in need through the holidays.

Freedom New Mexico

With 100 more families applying for help this holiday season, the Salvation Army is hoping to raise enough money to meet their needs and help enrich their Christmas, according to Maj. Jim Gallop.

Friday the Clovis News Journal and Portales News-Tribune will launch their annual 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.

Gallop said though Clovis has been fortunate to avoid any major industry strife, families are still feeling the effects of the economy and facing hardships.

The holidays, he said, can compound that stress for families already challenged with daily life.

“(The Salvation Army’s) purpose is to help them out at Christmas but to also express the joy of Christ to them and to show them Jesus’ love through our acts of mercy,” he said.

One family dealt with hospitalizing a child who developed chronic asthma. The family was forced to move from their home and throw away all of their belongings after being exposed to black mold, he said.

Another woman lost her job trying to care for her husband, who is battling cancer. And, he said, a young mother is trying to complete her GED while looking for work.

“These people are in hard economic times, but they’re really trying to make things work,” he said.

“We try to help those who we can see have a need but also have a desire to get to that point where they’re living (independent of) the system.”

One dynamic charities often see is that in times of difficulty, people are more generous with donations or more likely to give, he said.

Gallop said a comparison of kettle donations Monday versus Nov. 22, 2009, showed double the contributions this year.

“It seems that when the economy is actually down, people tend to give to the Salvation Army more (and) they’re more often than not more generous with the little they have,” he said.

Gallop, who came to Clovis from Las Vegas, Nev., in July, said he has been impressed with Clovis as a community.

“My initial impression of Clovis, and I’m talking in a big city perspective, is of a community that is in touch with itself. Clovis is a community more than any other I’ve seen personally, where someone down the street knows if their neighbor is in trouble,” he said.

“People don’t keep to themselves so much and that makes me happy to be in Clovis.”

Last year the Empty Stocking program raised about $9,000.

Gallop said his goal is to raise $25,000 this year to adequately serve families in need.

Donations will be accepted through the end of the year, he said, but, to aid in distribution, the Salvation Army is asking any clothing or toy donations be made by Dec. 19.

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, 521 Pile St.

Donations may be mailed to the Clovis News Journal 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.