Empty Stocking Fund $65K short in donations


The Empty Stocking Fund, an 85-year-old charity that gives holiday gifts for children in need is $65,000 short in donations.

An 85-year-old charity that gives holiday gifts for children in need is $65,000 short in donations.

Channel 2's Erin Coleman visited the Empty Stocking Fund on Memorial Drive in Atlanta, where one week from today, they're hoping to start serving 50,000 children.

They're just not sure how many they can help. They're putting the finishing touches on the warehouse where in just one week, needy families will come to pick out toys for their children.

The area will be transformed into Santa's Village.

"They're like a blessing from God basically because organizations like that come in handy especially, during times like this," one woman said.

But the times have also dealt a blow to the charity. It's down $65,000 in donations from this same time last year. That's the equivalent of gifts for 3,000 children.

"We've not been down this far this late in the season since I've been involved and that's since prerecession," said Empty Stocking Fund Executive Director Manda Hunt.

Over the past few years, the charity has struggled. Last year for the first time, it had to stop providing toys to 13-year-olds. Executive director Manda Hunt said they're already talking about tough cuts going forward -- perhaps cutting out another age group like infants; or cutting 10,000 children in foster care or protective services in nine metro Atlanta counties.

"If we look back to 2007 prerecession, our average donation total was about $1.5 million and we served 50,000 kids. This year we'll be lucky to hit $1 million and we will serve 50,000 kids. So we have done everything we possibly can," Hunt said.

While they have done everything they can to make sure many kids at least get something this season, reality is setting in.

"We just can't go any further and we need help," Hunt said.

Click here to donate to the Empty Stocking Fund.

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