Empty Stocking Fund Registration Opens
The Sandhills Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) is the sponsor for the Empty Stocking Fund, a unique and comprehensive model community program with the purpose of providing gifts and food vouchers to the needy families of Moore County during the holiday season.
Now in its 10th year of managing the Empty Stocking Fund, the Sandhills Chapter is primarily the integrator of this program, pulling together volunteers, sponsors, and donors, and linking them up with needy families.
Over the years and through the efforts of the volunteers from the Sandhills Chapter and other community organizations and individuals, and through the generosity of hundreds of sponsoring organizations and businesses and private individuals, thousands of needy families who otherwise would have a meager Christmas have appreciated the wonderful gifts and much-needed food delivered through the Empty Stocking Fund.
In 2008 alone, 972 families were identified as "needy," and over 2,400 individual family members received gifts and the benefits of food vouchers.
There were 124 sponsors, including individuals, churches, businesses and school service clubs. In addition, over 350 donors contributed approximately $30,000 for food vouchers. In 2008, the amount spent by sponsors for gifts and food was in excess of $200,000.
The annual program begins in August and September of each year when MOAA volunteers, assisted by the local media, begin soliciting for sponsors and donors for the Empty Stocking Fund.
Every possible contributor, including churches, businesses, civic organizations, schools and individuals, is offered the opportunity to become a sponsor or donor. Sponsors know that they will be responsible for purchasing gifts ($45 per person) and procuring food vouchers ($50 per family) and delivering them to the needy families.
Concurrently, over the period of a few weeks, MOAA and other volunteers personally interview over 1,000 potential client families. Interviews include verification of income level, age and sex of family members, directions to each family's home, and, lastly, the interviews allow families to tell the interviewer what each family member would like for Christmas (wish list including sizes, color, etc.).
Every recipient of ESF help must be a Moore County resident.
You must apply for every individual in your home and provide the following for each: Social Security card and proof of income.
You must register each individual in your home at one of the registration dates listed above to be eligible for the 2009 ESF. (If unable to register in person, a relative or agent can complete the registration if they bring all of the required documentation listed above).
In order to be eligible, total household income must not exceed the maximum as established by the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA).
You will be asked to provide two gift options per person of approximate value of $30 each. (Clothing gift options must include sizes).
Registration is limited to 230 families per day.
After MOAA volunteers work with the Moore County government agency for social services to verify income and family member names, families are approved as eligible for the Empty Stocking Fund.
Subsequently, through the use of a sophisticated data base, MOAA volunteers assign approved families to sponsors. To date, all approved families have been assigned to a sponsor. Volunteers then send letters to each sponsor and to each approved family, specifying the coordinating details for linking families with assigned sponsors.
Sponsors purchase and wrap gifts and procure food vouchers, and then, just a few days before Christmas, personally deliver the gifts and vouchers to the homes of each of the needy families.
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