Together, we make sure the stocking isn’t empty

November 27, 2018

One tradition of the holiday season is helping others.

Assistance can vary — everything from sending money to victims of wildfires in California to donating cash to buy food for hungry children in war-torn Yemen. There is much work to be done locally, too, such as taking warm socks to a homeless shelter, rounding up coats and presents for kids, or gathering food for those in need.

Sometimes, though, it feels good to help in a one-on-one way — to read about one person’s troubles and reach in your wallet and make that misery go away, at least for the moment.

And that’s what The New Mexican’s annual Empty Stocking Fund is all about. It is a way to help right here at home for people who are in a pickle. Part of our holiday season since 1981, the Empty Stocking campaign is the newspaper’s way of not just showing that we care, but finding ways to help our readers help others.

During the holiday season, we are publishing the details of individuals who need a helping hand. Some are seeking assistance paying a utility bill, fixing a car so they can get to work or even catching up on rent so they don’t lose their housing. All applicants go through a screening process. That means the money is going where the donor intends. (To be considered this year, applications must be received by 5 p.m. Nov. 30. Applications can be submitted online at www.santafenewmexican.com/empty_stocking. People without internet access can go to any of the city’s three public libraries or to the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions at 301 W. De Vargas St.)

The help isn’t just of the moment, necessarily. People who are struggling also can be connected with services that will help them in the future. Assistance is not just about money; it’s about improving lives over the long run.

There are other ways to help, too, for those who are short on cash. Givers donate services — fixing a house, doing car repairs, giving a load of wood or offering rides.

Last year, the generosity of our neighbors helped more than 200 beneficiaries, with more than $235,000 raised. With those donors and partners — the Santa Fe Community Foundation, Los Alamos National Bank, the Salvation Army, Presbyterian Medical Services, the Life Link, Habitat for Humanity and the Housing Trust — this becomes a true community effort.

Not everyone has a Merry Christmas or a happy holiday. Their worries and problems are too great. But with the Empty Stocking Fund, troubles can be shared and reduced, and all take part in the joy of the holiday season.

How to help

Those who wish to contribute to the Empty Stocking Fund can make a donation online at santafenewmexican.com/empty_stocking. Checks also can be mailed to The New Mexican’s Empty Stocking Fund c/o the Santa Fe Community Foundation, P.O. Box 1827, Santa Fe, NM, 87504-1827. Donors can request to remain anonymous.

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