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Empty Stocking Fund looks for more applicants to apply for free Christmas toys

The Empty Stocking Fund was started almost five decades ago in Troup County to help families provide a Christmas for their children or grandchildren. 

Paul Stedman, who is with LaGrange Personal Aid and over the Stocking Fund, is taking applications until Nov. 30. 

“We just want people to be aware that we are here if they need it,” Stedman said. “If COVID has affected their factory, closed the factory they were working at or lost they lost their job, we are here if they need toys.” 

Stedman said that toys are purchased at low cost, received as donations or are provided by the local Toys for Tots. 

The Empty Stocking Fund was originally started by the Jaycees.  Then it was run by the Pilot Club, with LaGrange Personal Aid doing the screening. When the Pilot Club decided to disband, LaGrange Personal Aid took it over and have continued to provide for low-income and needy families.

“We do ages one to ten for the toys,” Stedman said. “They have to be a resident of Troup County, except for Hogansville who has their own stocking fund. We have a variety of toys that are really nice.”

The Empty Stocking Fund has its primary donations come in from the United Way and the Joe Harris Fund. 

To apply to have your name added to the list, call 706-882-9291. 

Stedman said applicants must be able to provide a Georgia picture ID and show the total income of the family for the last 30 days. 

Stedman said that without the toy drive, some families wouldn’t be able to provide Christmas presents for their children. 

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