A group of large donations that helped the Salvation Army reach fundraising goals for the Empty Stocking Fund last year have not so far materialized for 2013.
Donations were at $5,895 on Tuesday, significantly down from $13,800 received by last Christmas Eve.
Lynn Berry, community relations manager for Clovis Media Inc., said a $5,000 donation that helped drive last year’s total did not come in this time, and a few other donations dropped as well.
The $5,895 total does include a $1,000 donation from a BNSF employee, and a donation match by BNSF.
The Salvation Army set a goal of $12,000 for the Empty Stocking Fund, based on last year’s success.
The Empty Stocking Fund helps more than 600 families throughout eastern New Mexico, with many applying directly to the Salvation Army with various circumstances that make the upcoming holiday difficult.
The circumstances are different for each family, from sickness to job loss to just simply a tough time making ends meet. A small sampling of stories from families in need have been featured daily in the Clovis News Journal and Portales News-Tribune since the Thanksgiving holiday.
Additionally, the fund goes toward helping out 300 senior citizens, many on fixed incomes.
Money from the fund is used to buy gifts for children and provide families with commodity baskets that include turkey or chicken and side items like stuffing and vegetables to make a Christmas meal.
Maj. Rachel Gallop of the Salvation Army said that as of Saturday, the Red Kettle campaign had raised around $38,000. The organization had totaled $42,794.23 the Saturday before last Christmas.
Other donations, however, were up. In what Gallop called a big blessing, all toy donation goals were met, and the efforts helped 550 children.
Red Kettle campaign money funds other Salvation Army programs throughout the year, including women’s and family ministries.
The Salvation Army accepts Empty Stocking Fund donations any time of the year, but largely sees donations during the Christmas season.
The Clovis News Journal and Portales News-Tribune, in partnership with the Salvation Army, sponsor the Empty Stocking Fund and will continue to accept donations until the end of the year and forward them to the Salvation Army.
Clovis Media Inc. accepts donations at the newspaper offices at 521 Pile St. in Clovis or 101 E. First St. in Portales. Donations may be mailed to the CNJ at P.O. Box 1689, Clovis, N.M. 88102 or the PNT at P.O. Box 848, Portales, NM 88130. Envelopes should be clearly marked to indicate they contain a donation for the Empty Stocking Fund.