FLORENCE — The Empty Table Fund is at $31,670 which is more than $8,000 shy of the goal.

The TimesDaily-sponsored fund benefitting the Salvation Army of the Shoals is in its 40th year and has a $40,000 goal this year.

The fund will be collecting donations from the public through next week. All proceeds go directly to the Salvation Army for helping those in need during the winter months and beyond.

"With the cold weather hitting us so quickly and hard, people are using utilities more, especially the heat," Salvation Army Major Sue Dorman said. "I've had people already asking for help with utilities, and we'll have more of those requests next month as well."

Forecasts call for a low of 10 degrees Wednesday night.

"Some people just don't have the money to heat their homes in those temperatures," she said. "I'm always particularly concerned for the elderly and children."

Another unplanned expense the Salvation Army has in extreme cold is staffing its lodge during the day when clients ordinarily would be out.

"We have income going toward expenses like this that we don't usually have, and it really stretches our dollars," she said. "I appreciate and thank the Lord for these donations because if we didn't have this money we'd be having to figure out what services to cut. To have to pick and choose among very essential services is a heartbreaking thing to do."

Contributions can be brought to the TimesDaily office at 219 W. Tennessee Street in Florence or mailed to P.O. Box 797, Florence, AL 35631.

The following individuals contributed to the Empty Table Fund last week: Arlice Theo Henry, $100; Charles C. Anderson, $1,000; Garnet Electric Co. Inc., $500; In memory of R.G. Darby, $100; In memory of Marshall Beck by Mr. and Mrs. Russell West, $50; Carl Pool, $100; Lorraine Smith, $100; Mark W. Manning, $20; Aubrey and Paula Beasley, $50; In honor of Linda Hughey, Lorraine Glasscock, Sheila Lindsay, Sarah Haggstrom, Anita Mallette, Bonnie Deason by Judy Haugseth, $100; In memory of Josh Putman by Hal and Roberta Putman, $100; Mrs. Doug B. Roberson, $70; anonymous, $100; Martha H. Woodford, $100.

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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