Empty Stocking Fund scrambling to find new home

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ATLANTA, Ga. - An 86-year-old Atlanta charity is scrambling to find a new home. If not, the charity won't be able to help the thousands of families it serves.

The Empty Stocking Fund provides toys and gifts for about 50,000 Atlanta kids. But if it doesn't find a new space, many will get left out.

Channel 2 Action News was there last year as thousands of parents gave thanks to the organization for giving them a chance to pick out toys for their kids.

Nine months later, the building, donated for free for two years to the Empty Stocking Fund, is no longer available. The charity's director, Manda Hunt, told Channel 2's Erin Coleman they've spent a month looking for a new space, but so far, no luck.

"This situation right now is absolutely a crisis situation for us," said Hunt. "If we do not find a warehouse distribution center in the next three to four weeks, we'll have to start making some very difficult decisions."

Hundreds of toys have already been donated to the charity. But Hunt says they're asking vendors to hold off on donating more items until the charity finds a place to store them.

The nonprofit is looking for a 20,000-square-foot space with lots of parking inside the perimeter.

In the past, the nonprofit used City Hall East, which is no longer an option since the building is undergoing a major renovation.

"I think the main concern is a landlord is unwilling to take the property off the market for three months while the Empty Stocking Fund is using it," said real estate broker Paul Hanna. "They would like to get a long-term tenant rather than someone short term."

Hanna said he donated his time to help. But even he is now worried.

"We have about two to three weeks at the most to find this property for us. That's not much time," he said.

And it's at a time when the need is increasing. The organization is just hoping someone steps forward, so it doesn't have to turn away children.

"With the thousands of kids, we just may not be able to serve. It's just not possible,'" Hunt said.

The organization is willing to pay for the space, but it has limited funds. Anyone interested in helping the Empty Stocking Fund can click here for more information.



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