For more than 100 years The Examiner’s annual Empty Stockings Appeal has raised money for the less fortunate in Launceston, Tasmania, at Christmas and this year hopes to top last year’s donations by collecting $100,000.
Now in its 107th year, the Empty Stocking Appeal reaches out to readers, advertisers and the local community for donations which are then distributed to four Launceston-based charities: Launceston Benevolent Society, Salvation Army, St Vincent de Paul and City Mission.
The Examiner supports the campaign with a range of editorial content such as stories about those who receive support through the appeal and the challenges they face, to more light-hearted pieces about the people and community groups who donate.
The appeal usually kicks off with a piece in The Examiner where representatives from the four charities discuss the challenges in the local community and how the donations will be used.
St Vincent de Paul’s norther regional manager Peter Freak said at the launch of this year’s appeal that it was heartening to see individuals, businesses and community organisations fundraising and donating to the appeal.
“The generous proceeds from the Empty Stocking Appeal will play a big part in assisting Vinnies’ volunteers to provide hampers and gifts to families in need of assistance this Christmas,” Mr Freak said.
Many of The Examiner’s advertisers donate to the campaign, with some giving every year “like clockwork”.
The Examiner’s marketing team also becomes involved with fundraising events, like the Rotary Club’s annual Carols by Candlelight which is a major source of donations for the appeal.
Mark Baker, Fairfax Media’s group manager editor, Tasmania, said the appeal aimed to both raise money and increase awareness of the struggles faced by some during Christmas.
“I think what’s given the appeal its longevity is that it is community-based. It’s about the community looking after its own people,” Mr Baker said.
“For most people in the community, Christmas is a great time, a time for rest and relaxation. But for a small percentage of our community it’s the opposite. It’s, ‘Do I buy Christmas presents or pay the power bill?’
“What we try to do is show where those donations go and what impact it actually has. I think that’s the real strength of the newspaper campaign. We can dedicate the time to investigate the causes and the issues in our community and show people how it works and how it pays off.”
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