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In just a few days, many of us will give thanks for what we have — for what’s on our table, as well as for those who are gathered around it.

Thanksgiving can also be a good time to reach out and help others in the community who may need a hand. The Empty Stocking Club is one way to do that during the holiday season.

Since 1918, the Wisconsin State Journal and its readers have joined together to provide toys for needy children at Christmastime.

Readers’ donations make it possible for us to buy hundreds of new toys each year to stock a “Toy Depot,” which runs for two days at the Alliant Energy Center and looks a lot like the inside of a large retail store. This year’s depot is planned for Dec. 15 and 16.

The Empty Stocking Club works with social workers in schools and community groups to get applications out to needy families.

Parents then come to the depot, where they pick out the gift they think is best for each child and take it home to wrap it as they wish.

Last year, the Empty Stocking Club served 4,953 families with 12,387 children, thanks to the generosity of our readers.

For nearly 100 years, the charity has fulfilled its mission of making sure each child has at least one nice gift during the holidays.

Even through times of war, the Great Depression and the Great Recession, our readers have allowed us to keep this promise.

If you’d like to be a part of this holiday tradition, today’s newspaper contains a donation envelope for your convenience. We print the name of every donor in the paper.

You can also contribute online at Or mail a check to: Empty Stocking Club, Wisconsin State Journal, P.O. Box 8056, Madison, WI 53708.

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Empty Stocking Club gifts top $7,000. B2


Managing editor/audience for the Wisconsin State Journal