The Empty Table Fund grew significantly last week and now is more than halfway toward its goal of $40,000.

The fund now stands at $23,750, with two weeks of collection left.

Proceeds from the TimesDaily-sponsored fund go directly to the Salvation Army to help offset costs associated with its Christmas assistance programs and to help those in need during the winter months.

Salvation Army Maj. Sue Dorman said gift distribution for children at Christmas is just one aspect of how the Salvation Army helps families during the winter months. The Angel Tree gift distribution last week was successful with more than 1,600 children receiving gifts.

Now, the focus is on raising money through the Red Kettle Campaign, with its goal of $140,000.

With only one-and-a-half days to go, the campaign has only generated about half of its goal.

"We really rely on these kettles to raise much-needed money that helps us sustain our programs not only through the winter but into the spring as well." Dorman said.

"It's a big part of our budget in helping us house, feed and provide clothing for people. The need doesn't go away when winter ends, and we rely on this money in the months that follow. We stand greatly on our faith and trust in God, especially to provide at this time of year."

As for the contributions that come through the Empty Table Fund, Dorman said this year's goal is obtainable.

"Even no longer than I've been in the Shoals, I see how giving the people here are, and I know we'll go forward with meeting needs," she said. "This is a very generous community."

To contribute to the fund, donations may be brought by the TimesDaily office at 219 W. Tennessee St., Florence or mailed to P.O. Box 797, Florence, AL 35631.

The following individuals contributed to the Empty Table Fund last week: anonymous, $100; James and Elizabeth Patton, $100; anonymous, $2,000; Bruce and Marianne McLellan, $100; Fellowship class First Baptist Church, Florence, $100; anonymous,$1,000; Daniel and Carolyn Waterman, $50; Tommy and Ann Johnston, $500; anonymous, $50; Clyde and Penney Roberts, $500; Paul and Donna Kittle, $50; Mrs. Martha Winter, $100; in memory of Troy Loosier by Carl and Peggy Loosier, $100; Lee and Johnnie Butler, $100; David and Marilyn Jordan, $1,000; Tim Barnett, $250; Vickie and Andy Hannah, $50; Grace Baptist Church, $200; anonymous, $500; John F. Darby Jr., $200; Driftwood home Design LLC, $100; David and Margie Pongetti, $50; Dennis and Jane Cole, $30; Abroms and Associates, PC, $1,000; Faithful ladies WMS, Cypress Creek Methodist Church, $50; Mrs. Carolyn McCann, $100; Janet Gordon, $100; B. Yielding, $100; Jerry and Carolyn McFall, $50; Roger and Marie Guyton, $200; G and G Repair, $200; TimesDaily business office, $175.

Lisa Singleton-Rickman can be reached at 256-740-5735 or lisa.singleton-rickman@TimesDaily.com. Follow on Twitter @TD_LSRichkman.

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