Help a child: Empty Stocking Club fund drive kicks off Sunday
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Help a child: Empty Stocking Club fund drive kicks off Sunday

2018 Toy Depot

Volunteers, including Virginia Wagner, left, and Lysa Thoeny, set out toys in preparation for the Wisconsin State Journal's Empty Stocking Club Toy Depot at the Alliant Energy Center last year.

For many local families struggling to meet basic needs, the Empty Stocking Club is a game changer.

Since 1918, the Wisconsin State Journal has partnered with our readers to provide at least one new toy for local children at Christmastime. Last year, with your help, the Empty Stocking Club served 3,290 families and distributed more than 13,000 toys. Readers donated almost $280,000.

To reach even more children and meet increasing need, this year’s fund drive kicks off today with a goal of raising $300,000.

Each year, the system is simple: Generous readers donate money, and the paper buys the toys and sets up a system to get those toys into the hands of children who would otherwise not have them.

Empty Stocking Club logo

The charity started more than 100 years ago in the wake of the Great War and a flu pandemic.

State Journal editors saw families in need and decided to do something about it. They sought help from readers to provide food, clothes, fuel oil, and toys and candy — all to brighten people’s lives during the holiday season. That first year, the paper gave out baskets “of all sorts of good things to eat, together with underwear, stockings, mittens, outer garments, quilts and toys,” according to the Dec. 26, 1918, newspaper.

Editors today continue to see great need in our community. We see families struggling to provide food, shelter and clothing for their children. For these parents, toys aren’t feasible, and each year we see what a difference this makes in their lives — what a difference our readers make for them.

You make the work of the Empty Stocking Club possible, and we hope that you will continue your support to keep this cherished tradition alive. You may donate online at or use the envelope inside today’s newspaper. You may also mail your donation to:

Empty Stocking Club

Wisconsin State Journal

P.O. Box 8056

Madison, WI 53708


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