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30th annual Tri-City Empty Stocking Fund returns

By: Samantha Saracino Email
By: Samantha Saracino Email

A mountain tradition continues for the 30th year in a row thanks to a man named Jim "Muggins" Bennett, the brains behind the Tri-City Empty Stocking Fund. The goal is for needy families in the the area to have food and gifts for Christmas and this is made possible with fundraising events and generous donations. Today was the main event, delivery day.

It was delivery day for those involved in the Tri-City empty Stocking Fund, but with all of the presents and hundreds of food baskets, there was really nothing empty about it.

"Our goal is to fill the stocking. Empty stocking? No. We make a full stocking. No such thing as an empty stocking for us," said Jim "Muggins" Bennett, the organizer of the event.

There were more than 500 baskets that needed to be handed out, so volunteers loaded up their cars and hand delivered each present and basket to every home on the list.

"You walk in there with those gifts, they rip them open or you bring a box of food and they drop the gifts and go get food because they're hungry," Muggins said.

It was a memorable experience for those receiving and for the volunteers who were giving.

"Just seeing these kids faces light up. They love their present and they're just so excited and to actually see kids go to the food boxes first instead of the presents is just unreal because there's so many needy families out here," said Leslie Hall, a volunteer.

All in the spirit of christmas...

There were many fundraising events that lead up to today's delivery and made purchasing all of the food and gifts possible, along with donations from community members, people all over the commonwealth and the surrounding states.

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