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Look for JROTC cadets collecting for the Empty Stocking Fund Nov. 3-4 | Community Spirit

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Look for JROTC cadets collecting for the Empty Stocking Fund Nov. 3-4
Look for JROTC cadets collecting for the Empty Stocking Fund Nov. 3-4

More than 2,000 JROTC cadets from 30 metro Atlanta high schools
to participate in historic fundraising effort

On Saturday, November 3rd and Sunday, November 4th, visitors to metro Atlanta Kroger stores are likely to be met by a smiling, uniformed JROTC cadet with an Empty Stocking Fund logo, as more than 2,000 cadets representing 30 metro Atlanta high schools’ JROTC programs will be working outside metro Kroger stores to raise awareness of and contributions for The Empty Stocking Fund, an Atlanta-based, Atlanta-serving non-profit organization that has been providing holiday gifts to Atlanta’s neediest children since 1926. 

This year, the charity expects a record number of children — more than 55,000 — to need their services. According to Manda Hunt, The Empty Stocking Fund’s Executive Director, the contributions collected by the JROTC volunteers are a crucial part of that effort. “Not only do they raise a lot of money to help children in need, but they help increase visibility for our organization. That’s so important to a grassroots organization like ours.”

The partnership with JROTC is a long-standing tradition that dates back to the 1930s.  It was established based on the community spirit of young people helping young people. Over a two-day period, thousands of JROTC volunteers from metro Atlanta high schools collect donations throughout their communities.  In 2011, approximately 2,500 JROTC cadets representing the Army, Navy Air Force and Marines, raised more than $97,000 for the organization, enough to provide gift packages to 5,000 children.

Although The Empty Stocking Fund receives contributions from many of Atlanta’s largest corporations including AMERIGROUP, AT&T, Coca-Cola, Cox Media Group, Georgia Power, The Home Depot, InterContinental Hotels Group, UPS, and Wells Fargo, the overwhelming majority of the approximate $1.25 million it requires annually comes from individuals who make donations via JROTC Drive contributions, Sponsor-A-Child campaigns at their place of work, or in response to advertisements or mailings. 

Santa Claus is expected to put in an appearance at some Kroger stores, thanking the cadets for helping make sure all of Atlanta’s children receive a gift this holiday season.

Through its Family2Family project, WSB-TV will support the cadets’ efforts by increasing awareness of the program.  As one of the project’s underwriters, Kroger and American Signature Furniture stores will allow the cadets to fundraise onsite at more than 70 metro area stores throughout the weekend. 

“The JROTC Drive weekend is a great experience to work with these young people and share their enthusiasm in helping the less fortunate families in our communities,” said Glynn Jenkins, director of communications and public relations for Kroger’s Atlanta Division.

The Empty Stocking Fund only has two full-time employees. Without the generous support of corporate sponsors, individual donors, and volunteers none of this would be possible. 

“Since the economic downturn of 2008, donations have dropped while the number of children who need our services has continued to rise,” said Hunt. “This year more than ever, The Empty Stocking Fund needs the support of the Atlanta community. If you see a cadet in your neighborhood, please support their efforts by making a contribution.”

About The Empty Stocking Fund

The Empty Stocking Fund empowers parents and guardians of children living at or below the poverty level throughout metro Atlanta by providing them with an opportunity to give their children gifts at Christmas time.  Through relationships with wholesale distributors, the non-profit organization purchases brand new items in sufficient quantities to offer a variety of age- and gender-appropriate choices.  For more information or to make a contribution, please visit www.emptystockingfund.org.

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