East Texas non-profit needs help collecting toys for children in need

East Texas non-profit needs help collecting toys for children in need
Lea McGee, executive director of the Empty Stocking Fund, a nonprofit organization helping children in need during the Christmas season, needs a boost of community support. (Source: Christian Piekos)

HARRISON COUNTY, Texas (KSLA) - For over a century the Empty Stocking Fund has made Christmas wishes come true for countless families in need across East Texas who otherwise might not have any gifts under the tree.

However, due to the coronavirus pandemic and the lingering financial fallout, more families are requesting assistance this year from ESF. Meanwhile, donations, also affected by COVID-19, are in decline.

“My phone does not stop ringing, there are so many people who need help,” said Lea McGee, the executive director of ESF. “It’s going to be a crazy year.”

McGee said the organization normally fulfills Christmas present requests for between 300 to 350 children. However, this year, that number is hard to keep track of.

“I can’t ever talk on my phone because people keep buzzing in, buzzing in [asking for help],” she added. “It’s been a challenge just trying to get a hold of everyone, I’m going to try to help as many as I can.”

McGee said donations of toys are in high demand right now, especially for children who are eight years old and up for both boys and girls.

“Those are the hardest ones for us to provide for,” she noted.

Donations can be dropped off at 306 W. Houston Street in Marshall for the Empty Stocking Fund. Financial contributions can also be made here.

“I am 100 percent confident in our community helping the Empty Stocking Fund,” McGee said. “It’s been in Harrison County for 106 years, so it seems we’re dear to their heart.”

If you are in need of assistance from the Empty Stocking Fund, or would like to assist this operation of love, contact McGee at (903) 472-8649.

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