(November 7, 2013)

In it's 24th year, the Empty Stocking Fund is once again planning to help hundreds of less fortunate Harford County residents during the Christmas Season.

The Empty Stocking Fund is a nonprofit 501c-3 organization founded in 1990 to help needy residents of Harford County during the holidays.

The Empty Stocking Fund helps with food; and clothing and toys for the children. The Fund assisted more than 350 Harford County families in 2012.

The Empty Stocking Fund accepts monetary donations, new unwrapped toys and new books.

If you would like to make a donation, you may send it to The Empty Stocking Fund, P.O. Box 189, Bel Air, Md. 21014. Any amount would be appreciated.

The fund raising goal for 2013 is $80,000. As of Monday, the fund has received $20,815 in monetary donations.

You can help the fund reach its goals by stopping by the Empty Stocking Fund display at Barnes and Noble Booksellers at 620 Market Place Drive in Bel Air and buying a book for a child.

Harford Community College will celebrate the holidays with two productions that benefit the Empty Stocking Fund.

Harford Dance Theatre will present "The Nutcracker" at the Amoss Center, with five performances: one on Friday, Dec. 6, at 8 p.m;  two on Saturday, Dec. 7, at 1 and 4 p.m. and two on Sunday, Dec. 8, at 1 and 4 p.m.

Phoenix Festival Theater will present "Babes in Toyland" in the HCC Chesapeake Center, also with five performances: on Saturday, Dec. 13, at 8 p.m.; two on Saturday, Dec. 14, at 3 and 8 p.m. and two on Sunday, Dec. 15, at 1 and 4 p.m.

Tickets for both are available at tickets.harford.edu. Patrons are asked to donate a new unwrapped toy to each performance to benefit the Empty Stocking Fund.

Harford Ballet Company's annual performances of "The Nutcracker" will also benefit the Empty Stocking Fund, as they have for several years. The performances at Aberdeen High School are Saturday, Dec. 14, at 6 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 15, at 3 p.m. Patrons are asked to bring new, unwrapped toys to benefit the Empty Stocking Fund.

Eight Harford County Public Library locations will serve as drop off collection sites for toys for the Empty Stocking this year. The branches participating include Abingdon, Fallston, Aberdeen, Jarrettsville, Joppa, Edgewood, Whiteford and Darlington, along with the HCPL administrative offices in Belcamp.

A quarter auction to benefit the Empty Stocking Fund is being planned for Dec 7 at Mt. Ararat Masonic Lodge on Gordon Street in Bel Air from 6-10 p.m.   

Toy drop-off sites include: Agape Physical Therapy, 3938 Conowingo Road, Darlington; Anytime Fitness, 5 Bel Air South Parkway, Festival; The Arena Club, 2304 Churchville Road, Churchville; Bank of America, Beards Hill Shopping Plaza; BB&T Banks, all branches; Bank of America, APG Branch, 2332 Rock Island Road, Aberdeen Proving Ground; Cook Volkswagen LLC, 2110 Belair Road, Fallston; DEES Fluid Power, 1809 Fashion Court, Suite 110, Joppa; Dollar General, Delta Store; Elite Spine and Wellness, Emmorton Professional Building, 2107 Laurel Bush Road, Bel Air; Enotria Restaurant and Grill, 2 Newport Drive, Forest Hill; Family Generation Hair Care, 1301 E. Churchville Road, Bel Air; FCCAU, Brass Mill Road, Riverside Business Park, Belcamp: Freedom Federal Credit Unions; all branches; and Gold's Gym Bel Air, 802 Belair Road; Bel Air.

Other toy drop-off sites include: Jordan Thomas Salon and Spa, 16 B Bel Air South Parkway, Bel Air; Kelly's Hair Design, 601 Moores Mill Road, Bel Air; Kiddie Academy, 2003 Klein's Way, Forest Hill; Long and Foster Realtors, Route 40, Riverside; M&T Bank, 6960 Delta Road, Delta; NBRS Bank, 3535 Conowingo Road, Street; NVS Hair Salon, 312 N. Main St., Bel Air; Optimal Spine, 998 Hospitality Way, Suite 202, Aberdeen; PayDay Payroll Service, 728 Rock Spring Road, Bel Air; Pat's Pizzeria, 1961 Pulaski Highway, Edgewood; Pat's Pizzeria, 1201 Revolution St., Havre de Grace; Pat's Pizzeria, 804 Conowingo Road, Bel Air; Rapid Refill, 15 Churchville Road, Bel Air; Ripken Stadium, Long Road, Aberdeen; Subway, Slate Quarry Plaza, Whiteford; Subway, Forest Hill; Subway, Bond Street, Bel Air; and Susquehanna Bank, 1525 Rock Spring Road, Forest Hill.

Empty Stocking Fund volunteers express their thanks for recent donations from the Harford County Electrical Contractors Association, $1,000; Scarborough Associates, $100; Jon and Cynthia Miller, $200; Wilson Heaps, $500; Mr. and Mrs. Irving Pratt, $250; Ryan Pierson Jr. and Elsie Cerutti, $100; McComas Funeral Home, PA, $100; Edward and Patricia Newing, $100; Charlotte M. Doyle, $100; Jarrettsville UM Church, $100; Michael and Linda Rutkowski, $250; Gerald and Susan Mannel, $150; Bufort and Yvonne Widenhouse, $100; Carl and Susan Clayton, $100; Paul and Patricia Kertis, $150; Larry and Lucille McLhinney, $100; Dennis J. Rosenthal, $500; Marvin and Rose Gonce, $100; Jeff and Niki Burger, $250; and Don Wusinich, $100. Several anonymous donations have also been received.