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Rico Goedjen of Madison helps set up toys for the Empty Stocking Club at the Alliant Energy Center Exhibition Hall in Madison, Wis., Monday, Dec. 15, 2014. M.P. KING -- State Journal

Since 1918, the Wisconsin State Journal and its readers have worked together to make sure that every child in our community receives at least one nice gift at Christmastime.

The tradition of the Empty Stocking Club, which provides thousands of toys each year to children in need, has prevailed for nearly 100 years — largely because of your generosity.

Today, we launch our annual fund drive to keep that promise to another round of families and children.

The Empty Stocking Club started small decades ago as an effort led by State Journal staff members who saw need in the community. They collected used toys, fixed them up and gave them to children who would otherwise get nothing in their Christmas stockings.

Today, the toys we provide are new and varied, and parents who need help are able to come to our Toy Depot and pick out exactly the right gift for their child. Last year, the Empty Stocking Club gave away some 10,000 toys and served 4,000 families.

We accept donations of all sizes, and we still print the name of every donor in the newspaper as our way of saying thanks. Sometimes, a donation will even come with a letter from someone eager to repay a favor from many years earlier when he or she received a gift from the Empty Stocking Club.

Sunday’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.

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