By Jeff Noble / Staff writer
A quarter of a century ago, a need was fulfilled by a group of volunteers.
It was a simple idea — give a Christmas present to needy children in the Corbin area who otherwise might not have a Christmas.
That simple gift was given to some 80 children in 1988. With that, the Southeast Kentucky Empty Stocking Fund was off and running.
Then as now, the fund is a joint effort between the Corbin Rotary Club and the Times-Tribune. And 25 years later, volunteers continue to fulfill that need.
Signups began last Thursday at Forest Hills Bowling Lanes for this year’s campaign.
“We’ve signed up a little over 300 children so far today. Usually we sign up over 400 children on the first day. We had our usual early morning rush which ended about 10 a.m, and it’s been pretty steady ever since. We’ve had several who’ve signed up for the first time. One family came in with a driver’s license from Lubbock, Texas, and had moved here, living with relatives,” said Rotary Club member and campaign president Joe Caldwell Thursday afternoon.
As other Rotary members and volunteers assisted two applicants at a nearby table, Caldwell pointed out the first couple of days are crucial to how many children are helped, and how much money needs to be raised this Christmas.
“Our ability to serve the children is based on the rate in which the donations come in. A lot of who and how we serve them depends on the early donations.”
Christina Bentley agreed wholeheartedly.
“How many children we serve, and what we can buy, is dependent on how much we raise now,” noted Bentley, Past President of the Corbin Rotary Club and Executive Director of Corbin’s United Effort, a community-based non-profit organization which helps struggling low-income families.
Last year, the Southeast Kentucky Empty Stocking Fund served just over 500 children. This year, between 500-600 children are expected to be served.
Caldwell said the campaign didn’t set a goal this year, for the most part. He added last year’s goal of $25,000 was almost met, and he welcomes anyone who’d like to be a corporate sponsor for this year’s fund to contact him.
While the sign-ups have started, eligibility for children to be included in the project begins in mid-November, with solicitations for donations announced in the Times-Tribune shortly afterwards. Once contributions begin coming in, donors and gift levels are recognized, which continues through December.
The Empty Stocking Fund provides shoes, a blanket, books, an age-appropriate wrapped gift and candy to needy children. Gifts and other items are then purchased by Rotary Club members and ultimately unloaded, recognized and wrapped for the party, held a few days before Christmas.
The gifts will be wrapped on the night of Thursday, Dec. 20, at a location to be determined later.
As in years past, volunteers are needed to help wrap the gifts. Caldwell added it’s helpful if those volunteering provide their own wrapping paper, tape and scissors, although some will be available to volunteers the night of the gift wrapping.
The giveaway is set for the next day, Friday, Dec. 21, at Forest Hills Bowling Lanes. The opening ceremonies will start at 10:45 a.m. The first party will start at 11 a.m., with the second party beginning at 1 p.m.
Former Times-Tribune Publisher Wink Devane came up with the idea for the Empty Stocking Fund in the Corbin area in 1988. For the first fundraiser for about 80 children that year, Rotary Club members and volunteers wrapped presents on the second floor of the Times-Tribune building. The event was held at the Corbin Civic Center by 1990, and in 1993, the party was held at the bowling lanes for the first year.
“It’s one of our largest programs, and the community looks forward to it. The club is always excited about participating in this annual event to help those less fortunate than us,” said the current Corbin Rotary Club President Tom Foster.
Caldwell stated, “Our Empty Stocking program has state and national recognition. We’ve been mentioned in Rotary circles and publications, and we’ve had governors here to help out. The last three Governors of the Commonwealth have been here for the party, and have made substantial contributions to the program.”
To donate, you can make tax-deductible checks payable to the Southeast Kentucky Empty Stocking Fund. They can be mailed to P. O. Box 511, Corbin, KY 40702.
If you need more information, contact Caldwell at 878-7935 or 524-6475, any Corbin Rotary Club member, or Bentley at Corbin’s United Effort at 528-7523.
For 25 years, it’s Christmas for the neediest
By Jeff Noble / Staff writer
After the ducklings were rescued and put in a box, one of those helping out, Daniel Wallen, took them to his farm, where a friendly pond awaited them. Son Dylan and stepdaughter Haley helped put the baby ducks into the water.
It may not have been as dramatic and heroic as many other rescue stories, but a couple of Corbin firefighters and some local residents went beyond the call of duty Monday afternoon.
- Lucky Ducklings
- Local News
- Local Sports
North Laurel seventh-grader Olivia Miller attempts to throw out a Somerset runner.
Colonels pick up first district win of season
The Whitley County Colonels picked up their first district win of the season with a 9-2 victory over the visiting Williamsburg Yellow Jackets on Monday.
- North No-No
Remember what Jesus said before dying on the cross
Before I started working here at the Times-Tribune, I was busy earning my college degree at the University of Kentucky.
- Education a priority? Don’t believe it
- Remember what Jesus said before dying on the cross
Corbin KOA is a family affair. Owner Kendra Cooney, hopes to one day leave the care of the campground in the capable hands of her daughters Jenna, 8, at left, and Laura, 9, at right.
Energy abounding, the girls flitted like fairies, from one spot of interest to another. It was a beautiful sunny day and the girls just wanted to play. However, mom had other ideas.
- Kamping Out
Vote for a better sheriff in Whitley County
I have been listening to Whitley County Sheriff Colan Harrell lecturing on the radio lately. He is advertising what an excellent sheriff he has been. He states that he has made more than 12,000 calls in three years and has made many arrests.
- Adam Edelen’s Leadership by Example
- Vote for a better sheriff in Whitley County
Floss, Pyatt to perform at Corbin High
Promising “An Evening of Fun and Entertainment,” humorist, comedian and storyteller Howard Floss will join multi-award winning singer and songwriter Dale Pyatt on stage in Corbin on Saturday, May 17.
- Floss, Pyatt to perform at Corbin High