by Terry Rogers
Six years ago, Milford School District was approached by Milford Church of God pastor Andy Stevens as well as the editor of the Milford Chronicle, Darrel LaPrade, with a vision to create something they called “The Empty Stocking Project.” The goal of the program was to raise funds in order to provide holiday gifts for children in the Milford community. This year, volunteers spent the past weekend stuffing bags for children who may not have gifts this year.
“Since that time, Milford School District has been actively partnering with the project,” Trish Gerken, Public Information Officer for Milford School District, said. “We have assisted by identifying children, stuffing stockings and distributing to the children who needed them. With the support of numerous donors throughout the community, we have been able to fill stockings for over 385 elementary students throughout the Milford School District community this year.”
Gerken explained that the district has not only seen the program grow, not only in need, but also in the number of donors and volunteers involved. Working with school counselors, the Visiting Teacher and building interventionists, Milford School District assess student and family needs. Once a child or family has been identified, district staff arrange with the families for delivery of the stockings.
“Our hope is to bring joy to the children of our city during the Christmas holiday season,” Pastor Stevens said. “This program is an opportunity for our organization to do one of the things we do best – give back to our greater Milford Community.”
Donations for this program are regularly accepted at any time throughout the year. Donors are encouraged to reach out to Milford Church of God or visit their website at http://www.milfordcog.com/ for more information.
“We are thankful for the Empty Stocking Project and the collaborative efforts of the Milford Church of God and the Milford Chronicle to care for our students,” Dr. Kevin Dickerson, Superintendent, said. “The contribution and time of so many outstanding compassionate community members for this project is astounding. We are grateful for all of those involved and the joy provided to our students during this time of year. Milford School District is extremely fortunate and blessed for the continued support of our students and families by the Greater Milford Community.”
Gerken stated that the project would not be possible without the support of the community and many volunteers.
“Milford School District is grateful for the collaborative partnerships to assist in helping to provide for our children and families, especially during the holiday season,” Gerken said. “We want to give a major shout out to the Milford Church of God. Many volunteers helped and made the stuffing go very fast. Also thank you to Tina Hill for providing her bus service to transport bags to our different elementary schools.”
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