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Saint John High School students unveil their donation of $1,500 to the Empty Stocking fund in 2019. Image: Facebook

Empty Stocking Fund returning this December

By Brad Perry Nov 8, 2023 | 5:37 AM

A grassroots movement in Saint John is working to revive a century-old tradition in the community.

The Empty Stocking Fund ended last year after its long-time sponsor, Telegraph-Journal, was sold.

Toronto-based media company Postmedia acquired Brunswick News and its nine Irving-owned newspapers, which included the Telegraph-Journal.

Bill Dorey said he noticed a big void in the community ever since the annual fundraiser came to a sudden end.

“I think everybody just wants it back and they want it back in full force,” Dorey said in an interview on Tuesday.

RELATED: Empty Stocking Fund winding down

Earlier this year, Dorey and his family made and sold candy apples to help people in need at Thanksgiving. They ended up raising more than $1,600 and helping a total of 45 families.

Dorey said seeing the community step up gave him the idea to try and bring back the Empty Stocking Fund.

“It’s been nothing but overwhelming support. It’s almost emotional to talk about how much support we’ve seen from absolutely everybody,” he said.

Dorey and his team of volunteers have partnered with The Joshua Group, a non-profit organization in Saint John, which will accept funds and issue tax-deductible receipts.

Just like the original Empty Stocking Fund, all money raised will be used to provide Christmas gifts for families in need.

The fundraising telethon raised more than $260,000 in its final year, setting a new record. Dorey has his sights set on raising $500,000.

“People have really felt the void of this in the community, and knowing it’s coming back has created a momentum. I think it’s going to be one of the bigger years,” he said.

The telethon will take place at Simonds High School on Dec. 10 and will be livestreamed online. Dorey said they also hope to have it broadcast on Rogers TV.

Anyone interested in performing can email info@emptystockingfundsj.com. Volunteers wanting to lend their time can fill out an online form.

Dorey said they are currently working on the registration process for families in need. They plan to reach out to churches who participated in the past to see if they would be interested in helping out.

📢 We're proud to officially announce that The Empty Stocking Fund live telethon of 2023 will be held on December 10th at…

Posted by The Empty Stocking Fund on Monday, November 6, 2023