Thursday January 3, 2013

Each year, the Reformer Christmas Stocking continues to be awed and humbled by the response to our annual campaign.

For 76 years, the Christmas Stocking has helped families in Windham County and southwestern New Hampshire -- from homes with low incomes, high medical bills or even loss of income due to layoffs -- receive warm winter clothing for their children to stay warm through the cold months ahead.

For the past five years, we set our goal at $90,000 -- and given the state of the economy and the various other well-deserving fundraising efforts in and around the area ... well, let’s just say, we would’ve have been disappointed, but not surprised, if we weren’t able to reach it.

Instead, as you do every year, so many of our readers -- from friends who have always helped us over the years to new donors who stepped up when we needed them most -- kept the spirit of the Reformer Christmas Stocking alive for another season, as we surpassed our 2012 goal Wednesday afternoon, just two days into the new year.

"The Stocking Committee members all breathed a sigh of relief as word spread on Wednesday afternoon," Reformer news clerk and Christmas Stocking committee member Pat Smith wrote after the goal was reached. "No one had a doubt that it would happen, but seeing it happen year after year has become exhilarating. And each time, is met with the same enthusiasm."

We needed every bit of help we could get this year; the need is always there, for folks who need a little extra, extremely important assistance for the winter months. This year, 1,364 children from 612 families qualified for coats, snow pants, boots, hats and mittens. The ongoing recession continues to put a strain on many of our friends and neighbors and has made the Stocking more important than ever to local families in need.

We could not have reached our goal without the help of the Reformer’s readers and friends. From the schoolchildren who turn in their pennies and nickels to the local businesses who give so generously each year, people of all ages and circumstances from around the region have demonstrated yet again that people here are always ready to help out those in need.

Since 1937, the Christmas Stocking has always been about neighbors helping neighbors. It is something we take great pride in here at the Reformer. The volunteers that run the Stocking put in a heroic effort each year, and their effort ensures that every dollar donated goes toward buying the winter clothing that is needed from year to year.

If you haven’t done so yet, it’s not too late to give to this year’s campaign. Contributions, which are tax deductible, may be sent to: Reformer Christmas Stocking, P.O. Box 703, Brattleboro, VT 05302-0703. Donors may use their credit cards on PayPal for contributions by visiting www.reformer.com/christmasstocking. Type how you would like your donation to be listed in the Reformer in the "Purpose" line. Contributions may also be brought to the Reformer office at 62 Black Mountain Road on Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.

From all of us here at the Reformer, and from all the families you have helped with your generosity, a most sincere thank you.