More than $33,000 was raised this year for the TimesDaily Empty Table Fund.
Money for the holiday charity has been collected for 38 consecutive years, with all proceeds supporting the Salvation Army’s holiday and winter programs.
This year, $33,164 was donated by area residents and businesses.
Despite falling short of the campaign’s $40,000 goal, Salvation Army officials called the collection a blessing and added the money will help many people in the area.
“That fund really is appropriately named because this time of year we’re seeing a big increase in the number of people who come in to our daily feeding programs, which are costly to operate,” Salvation Army Maj. Donald Wilson said. “This money enables us to buy so much more food and help so many more people than we could otherwise.”
Other Salvation Army fundraisers this holiday season, such as the Red Kettle program, were successful this year, officials said. The kettles collected about $25,000 above the 2012 goal.
“We’ve been blessed for sure and can, in turn, be a blessing to others,” Wilson said. “We’ve been able to help many people this year who are simply at the end of their ropes and had nowhere else to turn.”
Wilson said he can’t adequately express his thankfulness for volunteers who helped with the Salvation Army’s Christmas assistance programs as well as for those who made donations. He said they should realize they are directly responsible for helping Shoals residents in need.
“I wish there was a bigger word than ‘thank you’ for all these people who’ve helped us so greatly, either with their time or financially. It just seems inadequate to simply say thanks,” Wilson said.
The following individuals contributed to the Empty Table Fund last week: Tony and Betty Mabrey, $100; anonymous, $100; William and Vanessa Gough, $100; Donald and Arzetta Mimbs, $50; Peggy and Carl Loosier, in memory of Troy Oneal Loosier, $100; Wells Fargo Advisors in honor of Tomas Ross, $500; anonymous, $50; Bobby Tate, $200; Dennis Cole, $20; Rod Slusher, $100; Sara Reed, $50.
Lisa Singleton-Rickman can be reached at 256-740-5735 or lisa.singleton-rickman@TimesDaily.com.