Struggling Odessa families are getting a hand from the Sewell Family of Companies through the Salvation Army’s Empty Stocking Fund.
The company has pledged to match donations dollar for dollar up to a $50,000 total donation from Sewell.
Major Luis Melendez, commanding officer of the Odessa Salvation Army, said this generous donation will mean a merry Christmas for many Odessa families.
“On behalf of The Salvation Army of Odessa, we greatly appreciate the generous grant of $50,000 as a challenge toward the Empty Stocking campaign. The challenge is laid out before the hearts of Ector County donors. Please give so that we can double the income and help the families and children in need this Christmas.”
The Empty Stocking Fund is celebrating 27 years this holiday season as it kicks off on Thanksgiving Day with a goal of $100,000 this year.
The Empty Stocking Fund is an annual fundraising effort by the Odessa American and The Salvation Army. In 2020, $55,054.29 was raised, which was short of the $100,000 goal. Families apply for the help through the Salvation Army and staff members verify the needs of those applying.
All donations to the Empty Stocking remain in Odessa to help Odessa families have a holiday meal basket and to also meet the needs of any Angel Tree requests that were not filled. Senior citizens who are on a limited income are also given small gifts like socks and treats.
This is the 27th year of the Empty Stocking Fund and the total raised since it started is $2,114,251.13.
Gifts were handed out to about 280 Odessa families through both the Angel Tree and Empty Stocking Fund programs at Odessa’s Salvation Army last year just before Christmas.
Last year, 1,200 children had a gift under the tree thanks to your generous giving.
Major Laura Melendez of Odessa’s Salvation Army said there are many needs during this second pandemic year. She said they expect to help 300 families with about 1,350 children this year.
“The Empty Stocking is unique to The Salvation Army in Odessa as it adds additional funds to facilitate providing toys and food boxes to families in need during Christmas,” Melendez said. “The way the Empty Stocking fundraiser involves donors in a direct way by sharing their resources with those less fortunate is amazing.”
Donations to the Empty Stocking Fund stay in Odessa and help the neediest among us. Donors may drop off or mail donations at the Salvation Army, 810 E. 11th St., or the Odessa American, 700 N. Grant (Bank of America Building), Suite 800. Online donations are accepted at https://give.salvationarmytexas.org/give/371871/#!/donation/checkout
Daily stories start on Thanksgiving Day in the OA and include real situations of those who have gone through the Empty Stocking Fund process and have provided proof of need. The OA uses fake names, but real situations.
Luis Melendez hopes Odessans take advantage of this opportunity to essentially double their donations. “Through this challenge, you can help more families celebrate the gift of love and hope from community neighbors that care.”
OTHER WAYS TO HELP
>> Ring the Bell: The Salvation Army needs volunteer bell ringers this Christmas season. Groups can sign up now to ring bells at a number of locations in Ector County. One afternoon of bell ringing during the Christmas Kettle Campaign can raise enough money for The Salvation Army to shelter a homeless person for four nights and provide 12 hot meals. To become a volunteer bell ringer call 332-0738 or visit www.registertoring.com to sign up.
Note: do not change link to tiny url …it messes it up also use the empty stocking logo
Greg and Teri Shipkey $5,000
Today’s total: $5,000
Previous total: $2,850
Grand total: $7,850
WANT TO HELP?
>> Donations to the Empty Stocking Fund may be mailed or delivered to the Odessa American, 700 N. Grant, Suite 800, Odessa or the Salvation Army Community Center, 810 E. 11th St., 79761.
Donate online at https://give.salvationarmytexas.org/give/371871/#!/donation/checkout
>> Want to know more? Call 332-0738.
WHAT IS IT?
>> The Empty Stocking Fund was created by the Odessa American in 1995 and has raised more than $2.1 million.
Empty Stocking funds enable the Salvation Army to provide toys and food baskets to needy families in Odessa.
>> This year’s goal is $100,000.