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Empty Stocking Fund helps mom of 2 make Christmas a little cheerier

December 6, 2018

Marian Harris browsed rows of new and used toys Wednesday looking for Christmas gifts for her 20-month-old daughter.

The Beaumont mother of two lost her job earlier this year and only recently found a new one. But thanks to donations to the Christmas Bureau and the Enterprise Empty Stocking Fund, an annual toy drive now in its 104th year, her youngest daughter will have a little brighter holiday.

“This program means a lot to me,” Harris said. “It’s very helpful when you don’t have much money or when you don’t have any money.”

Nearly 1,200 children from more than 450 families were selected to receive presents under the program this year. The three-day pickup event at the Compro Event Center ends Thursday, but donations are being accepted throughout the month to benefit the program next year.

Enterprise readers can find a donation coupon on page A5.

The Christmas Bureau was also able to purchase about 1,174 brand-new toys from the Empty Stocking Fund’s $50,000 allowance.

In addition, more than 3,000 books, stuffed animals, dolls and other toys were donated by various businesses and schools around the Southeast Texas including West Brook High School, St. Anthony’s, Kinsel Ford, Edgar, Kiker and Cross, and others.

Leftover money will roll over into the next year.

“Families come in and they can pick out a new toy, a used toy, one book and one stuffed animal for each child they registered,” Christmas Bureau president Michelle Rasa said.

She came to the Christmas Bureau five years ago and feels a special calling.

“I’ve been there before.” she said. “I didn’t ask for help, but I was 19 with a baby once and I remember putting one doll on layaway and worked hard to pay it off.”

On Wednesday, Harris shopped for her baby since her 14-year-old daughter isn’t into toys anymore.

“It’s all money and clothes and iPhones for her,” she said. “I just make her a little gift basket with trinkets and socks. She loves socks.”

A worker pointed to a doll that plays music. Harris shook her head.

“My girl isn’t into dolls,” Harris said. “She likes things that talk to her and teach her things — this one.”

She pointed to a book that came with a small keyboard and talking letters and words and slipped it into her bag.

erica.apodaca@beaumontenterprise.com

twitter.com/erica_a10

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