Celebrate! is a your guide to events, shopping, dining, and enjoying the holiday season in the Pikes Peak region.
The Gazette-El Pomar Foundation Empty Stocking Fund has played "Santa" to families in the Pikes Peak region since 1984.
The Fund’s initial goal was to help local families in need by filling their Christmas stockings with toys, clothing and other items during the holiday season. Now in its thirty-second year, the Empty Stocking Fund doesn’t actually fill stockings, but provides resources for local health-and-human-service agencies in the Colorado Springs area. Each of these agencies specifically assists individuals and families in times of crisis with the intent of enabling them to achieve self-sufficiency.
During its inaugural year, the Empty Stocking Fund raised more than $40,000 in cash and goods to support 27 local families; the following year, it was able to assist 36 families. A heartfelt Colorado Springs community collaboration, the success of the Empty Stocking Fund is due in part to the partnership between Gazette Charities and the El Pomar and Bruni foundations.
“The Empty Stocking Fund continues to provide over $1 million per year directly to 20 local charities,” said Dan Steever, president and publisher of The Gazette. “The fact that 100-percent of contributions go straight to the service providers means that your donation makes a direct impact in the lives of our neighbors in need.”
Thanks to the El Pomar Foundation for matching $1 for every $3 raised, (up to $200,000), and the Bruni Foundation for matching $10,000 for every $100,000 raised, (up to $70,000), every dollar contributed to the Empty Stocking Fund grows up to 45 percent.
All of the administrative fees for The Fund are shared by The Gazette, El Pomar Foundation, ADD Staff, and Wells Fargo, facilitating 100-percent of the funds raised to be utilized to enhance, encourage, and promote the future well-being of Coloradans.
"We are grateful for the way the Empty Stocking Fund connects us to a warm-hearted community that genuinely desires to help those who are in need,” said Maryann Stadjuhar, assistant executive director of Westside Cares, a nonprofit collaboration of 22 religious fellowships of the west side of El Paso County.
United in care and compassion for those in need, Westside CARES offers crisis human services to its Westside neighbors, including food pantries, financial assistance, health-care assistance, referrals and special seasonal programs.
Additional local health and human services agencies receiving distributions from the Empty Stocking Fund include: American Red Cross, Pikes Peak Chapter, Care & Share Food Bank, CPCD…giving children a head start, Ecumenical Social Ministries, Griffith Centers for Children, Chins Up Youth & Family Services, Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountain, Marian House, Catholic Charities, Mercy’s Gate, Partners in Housing, Peak Vista Community Health Centers, Reach Pikes Peak, Silver Key Senior Services, TESSA, The Home Front Cares, The Resource Exchange, The Salvation Army of El Paso County, Tri-Lakes Cares, Urban Peak, Westside Cares, and YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region.
Through the generosity of individuals, families, civic organizations, businesses, and foundations in the Pikes Peak region, The Empty Stocking Fund has been able to raise almost $16 million since its launch.
Throughout this year’s campaign, The Gazette will spotlight those whose lives have been changed as a result of the generous donations to The Empty Stocking Fund.
If you would like to donate, call 719-476-1673, mail a donation to P.O. Box 910942, Denver CO 80921-0942, or make a secure online donation a FillAnEmptyStocking.org.
For more information call 719-636-0332 like ESF on Facebook at Facebook.com/EmptyStockingFund or follow @ESFSprings on Twitter.