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The Empty Stocking Club got its start in 1918, when State Journal editors collected old toys and fixed them up, with help from the Madison Fire Department.

In those early years, children got a pound of candy and a refurbished toy.

Now, some 97 years later, the toys are new and of good quality — like anything you would find at a retail store.

This week, parents will visit the Empty Stocking Club’s Toy Depot at Alliant Energy Center. They will line up for a turn to stream past our toy “aisles,” taking their time to choose just the right toy for each child. The toys are then taken home to be wrapped and given in a way that follows each family’s tradition.

For some children, this will be the only toy they receive at Christmastime. And they will have you, our readers, to thank for it.

For decades, the newspaper and its readers have partnered to make sure every child is able to open at least one nice gift over the holidays. Every year, you generously help us achieve this goal.

Last year, the Empty Stocking Club served 4,953 families with 12,387 children. We are on pace to serve a similar number this year.

There is still time to donate to the Empty Stocking Club and spread the Christmas spirit to struggling households across our area. Each gift, no matter the size, makes a difference.

As a small token of our appreciation, we publish the name of every donor in the newspaper.

Please consider being a part of this special holiday tradition. Today’s newspaper contains a donation envelope for your convenience. You can also contribute online at

Or mail a check to:

Empty Stocking Club

Wisconsin State Journal

P.O. Box 8056

Madison, WI 53708