Empty Stocking Fund

The Charlotte Observer helps raise money for The Salvation Army to give gifts and necessities to those in need.

The Charlotte Observer has sponsored the Empty Stocking Fund since about 1920. All money contributed goes to the Salvation Army’s Christmas Center, which buys toys, food, clothing and gift cards for families.

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Angel Tree helps reduce holiday stress for grandmom helping raise 3 grandsons

By Vanessa Infanzon
The Charlotte Observer

Brenda Struble credits her western New York upbringing for her love of Christmas.

“Every time one of us kids were born, (our parents) planted a Colorado Blue Spruce,” said Struble, 57. “We had seven big Blue Spruces and dad always put blue lights on them. We always had more than we needed when we were kids, but we just didn’t realize it.”

The Charlotte woman has carried on the traditions of her childhood with her children and grandchildren. On Christmas Eve, they make sugar cookies, put out their stockings and leave a plate of cookies for Santa. They also eat dinner, read “The Night Before Christmas” and open presents.

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‘Blessing’ of a program helps mom struggling with bills get kids Christmas presents

By Vanessa Infanzon
The Charlotte Observer

Iyashia Davis makes Christmas feel special with family traditions.

The single mom and her children bake sugar cookies for Santa, open a gift at midnight and watch movies on Christmas day. Davis serves candied yams, collard greens, ham, macaroni and cheese, potato salad and dressing with gravy.

The one thing Davis can’t provide are Christmas presents for her eight children, who range in age from 6 to 20.

“All my money goes to bills to survive,” said Davis, 39

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She helps fill a big need for volunteers at holiday gift program that once helped her

By Vanessa Infanzon
The Charlotte Observer

Patricia Williams knows what it’s like to ask for assistance during the holidays.

When her daughter was in elementary school more than 25 years ago, Williams applied for The Salvation Army of Greater Charlotte’s angel tree program.

Her daughter received toys, shoes and an Easy-Bake Oven courtesy of the program. “(I remember) what it did for my daughter and how it made her feel,” said Williams, 57. “She didn’t feel left out. She felt like there were people that cared.”

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Pregnant mom grateful for help again from Salvation Army’s Christmas program

By Vanessa Infanzon
The Charlotte Observer

Rarely has Major Wilma Mason seen so great a need for community assistance in her more than 30 Guadalupe Ortiz remembers how she felt when her nearly 2-year-old son received diapers, shoes and a Radio Flyer tricycle on Christmas Day last year.

Ortiz’s friend referred her to the Salvation Army’s angel tree program which matches children in need with anonymous donors who buy them gifts. “I was so grateful,” said Ortiz, 21. “I never really imagined that people would send stuff like that.”

This year, Ortiz again applied for her son, Jayko Adrian Montero Ortiz, now 2 1/2, to be in the program.

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