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Grandmother in need is teaching her girls the value of giving

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    Since 1920, newspaper readers have given to the Empty Stocking Fund to buy needy children Christmas gifts. Send checks to Empty Stocking Fund, P.O. Box 37269, Charlotte NC 28237-7269 or go to charlotteobserver.com/emptystockingfund and use PayPal. For questions about how to help families, call Salvation Army Donor Relations: 704-714-4725. Registration has been closed for families seeking help. Donations so far: . LIST OF DONORS, 2A


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    The Empty Stocking Fund

    Newspaper readers in Charlotte have been contributing to the Empty Stocking Fund since about 1920. Last year, readers contributed nearly $270,000 to buy needy children gifts for Christmas. All money contributed goes to the Salvation Army’s Christmas Bureau, which buys toys, food, clothing and gift cards for families. To qualify, a recipient must submit verification of income, an address and other information that demonstrates need. For five days in mid-December, up to 3,000 volunteers help distribute the gifts to families at a vacant department store. The name of every person who contributes to the Empty Stocking Fund will be published on this page daily. If the contributor gives in someone’s memory or honor, we’ll print that person’s name, too. Contributors can also remain anonymous.

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    If you have a story idea for individuals, groups or communities supporting the Empty Stocking Fund, email msprice@charlotteobserver.com, or call 704-358-5245.



When Ivanella Alford’s granddaughter didn’t have a winter coat, Alford handed over her own, even though she rides the bus to her job as a hotel supervisor.

That’s the way life has been since Alford, 53, decided to start a second round of child-rearing 13 years ago. She had already raised her own two children, but she couldn’t bear the idea of her infant granddaughter going into foster care. More recently, she also took in a second granddaughter.

That means Alford is always stretching her paycheck to cover the basics. But that’s OK. “I’d rather struggle with them than struggle without them,” she says of 13-year-old Ty’Kelia and 12-year-old Tyyannia.

Alford’s hours depend on the amount of business at her hotel. If she only gets a couple of days a week, the check will be small.

Christmas gifts and other holiday extras have always come from the kindness of donors. Alford says she has taught her daughters to be grateful, not resentful: “We don’t worry about what we ain’t got. We thank God for what we do have.”

Both girls, who are students at Druid Hills Academy, want iPads for Christmas but know they won’t get them. Ty’Kelia’s wish list with the Salvation Army Christmas Bureau includes clothes, hair-styling gear, in-line skates and an MP3 player.

Alford carves out a dollar a week for each girl’s allowance. They’ve been setting aside a few pennies at a time to buy a gift for another child in need. So far they have $5, and Alford plans to take them to a dollar store to shop.

“That’s what they want to do,” she said. “I’m going to help them do it.”

Helms: 704-358-5033
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