It really is the season.
Not a day goes by once December arrives that this newspaper doesn’t learn of another local effort to ensure that needy children in Robeson County have something to unwrap on Christmas Day. It is clear that there is no correlation between wealth and generosity, because ours, an impoverished county, takes care of its own.
We are proud of our effort, The Empty Stocking Fund, which has raised more than $1 million since 1996 that has provided Christmas for more than 20,000 children in this county. While our role in The Empty Stocking Fund is visible, it’s also the least important. The fund depends on donations from the community, and the willingness of staff at the Department of Social Services to screen applicants and then get the $50 vouchers into the hands of the qualifying families — a task that bumps up against Christmas Day and is often accomplished during their own time.
There are dozens of similar efforts going on throughout the county.
But today, we want to focus on one at the Boys and Girls Club of Lumberton/Robeson County. There is a page A1 story on it today by staff writer Thomas Brennan, but here we have the liberty to urge you to consider a gift.
The club, which is led by the effusive Ron Ross, is a wonderful organization. Membership is just $1 a year, which makes it accessible to all children, including those in need of a mentor and direction because neither is provided at home. The small fee requires to club to look elsewhere for funding.
The children have fun at the club — but they are required to keep up with their schoolwork. If that doesn’t happen, then the fun is denied.
A week from today the Boys and Girls Club will hold its annual Christmas Party. Ross expects as many as 500 children at the event, during which he wants to hand each child a present. But just a couple of days ago, Ross only had 110 gifts to distribute.
You can help out in one of two ways — or both: Make a money gift to the club that can be earmarked for the Christmas Fund, or drop off a gift at any of about 20 locations scattered across Lumberton and Robeson County. They are listed in Brennan’s story today.
The Boys and Girls Club provides gifts every day to this community by the simple act of keeping busy young people who have too much time and get too little attention. Now is our turn to give back.