LaGrange Personal Aid is ready to take applications for this season’s Empty Stocking Fund, which will buy toys and books for about 500 local children.
Applications will be taken at 416 Pierce St. from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. on Oct. 3 and 10. Children aged birth to 10 qualify for the program and it’s open to all residents of Troup County, except Hogansville, which has its own Empty Stocking program.
“We started preparing in June,” said Paul Stedman, LaGrange Personal Aid director. “Every child will get three or four books and three toys.”
Stedman, LaGrange Personal Aid staff and volunteers finished bagging the donated books for the program on Monday. The new books are donated from the non-profit First Book program, which gets publishers to donate the books to programs that help children in need. Stacked in the agency’s storage room on Monday were books for early learning for small children and books on space and even Little House on the Prairie and Hannah Montana for older children. Toys also are purchased or donated through programs like Toys for Tots. One toy in the storage room Monday was a bear that helped educate children not to be scared to visit the doctor.
“We know that sometimes parents are not available to play with children, so we try and buy some things they can use on their own,” Stedman said.
LaGrange Personal Aid took over the Empty Stocking program from the Club of LaGrange last fall, leaving the United way agency little time to prepare for the Christmas season. This year, they’ve already been included in information sent out by local schools to remind parents of the program.
Parents are asked to bring the following when they apply for the program: ID, proof of income for the last 30 days and custody papers if the child is adopted or the grandchild of the applicant.