Scott Underwood: Teamwork pushes Empty Stocking Fund campaign past its goal

·3 min read

Jan. 10—Teamwork — when it works — can be a beautiful thing.

Teams can come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from sports teams to businesses to organizations. While each sort of team has its own priorities and needs its own mixture of resources and approaches for success, every team needs a basic unselfishness — a willingness to sacrifice personal interests for the overall good of the group.

That brings me to The Herald Bulletin's annual Empty Stocking Fund campaign. Around Christmastime each year, the campaign takes donations from the community, pools the money and sends it along to the local Salvation Army.

That wonderful organization uses the money to provide gifts, as well as food and necessities to local families in need at the holidays and throughout the coming year.

While the main thrust of the Salvation Army's holiday campaign routinely involves donations at its red kettle locations, the Empty Stocking Fund has become a staple of the effort, generating roughly $15,000-$25,000 each year.

This year, thanks to the generosity of the community, a record $31,494.50 was donated to fill up the Empty Stocking Fund.

While many of the donors likely have never met one another, they engage in classic teamwork — making a personal sacrifice for the benefit of the whole.

And, as on other teams, there are different roles to be played, and some team members are able to contribute more than others.

When a sports team wins a championship, everyone who played a role — from the superstar who gets the headlines to support personnel who labor in anonymity to help enable the players' success — feels a sense of satisfaction that they contributed to a great accomplishment.

I hope all contributors to the Empty Stocking Fund feel a similar satisfaction. Through your sacrifice, you helped the Empty Stocking Fund team set a new record this year, leading to the greatest gratification — helping bring happiness to children and their families at the holidays.

The following set of statistics illustrates the teamwork that went into making the 2021 Empty Stocking Fund campaign one to remember, and one to set a new standard for the 2022 campaign and beyond:

—145 donations were collected.

—The largest single donation, $4,000, was made anonymously.

—In all, 31 donations were anonymous.

—Nine donations were each for $1,000 or more, including $3,022.50 from The Herald Bulletin's Wishes Granted program, $3,000 anonymously, $1,905 from the office employees at Fredericks Inc., $1,400 from White River Valley Pizza Hut, $1,000 from Karen Smith, $1,000 from the Alexandria Men's Community Service Club and two $1,000 anonymous gifts.

—61 of the donations were for $100 each, making that the most frequent contribution amount.

—$50 was donated in 32 instances.

—The smallest donation was $10.

All donations, from largest to smallest, helped the Empty Stocking Fund team exceed its goal for 2021. Thank you to all for your sacrifices to enable hundreds of families in the Madison County area to enjoy the holidays.

Editor Scott Underwood's column is published Mondays in The Herald Bulletin. Contact him at scott.underwood@heraldbulletin.com or 765-640-4845.

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