FLORENCE — The Empty Table Fund neared the $30,000 mark as of this week.

The goal for this year’s fund, in its 40th year of collections for the Salvation Army, is $40,000.

The fund’s total stands at $29,280.

“We certainly hope to reach our goal with the fund,” Salvation Army Maj. Sue Dorman said. “The needs are great, not just during the holidays but all through the year. The money contributed to funds, like the Empty Table Fund, goes directly into feeding, clothing and housing people in greatest need. This money helps us during the cold months but also well beyond that. Need really knows no season. It exists all year.”

The public has helped meet needs for Christmas through the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program. According to Dorman, this year’s Angel Tree was a success, with all angels’ names adopted the week before toy distribution.

Thanks to the Salvation Army volunteers and generous gifts from the public, more than 1,600 Shoals children are waking to Christmas gifts today, via the Angel Tree program.

“It’s been a successful Christmas campaign for sure,” Dorman said.

But other needs still exist for the less fortunate in the area. Dorman said people still need food, help with utilities and other basic needs met. That’s where fundraising programs such as the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign and the TimesDaily’s Empty Table Fund come in.

The Red Kettles, located throughout the Christmas season at various businesses around the Shoals, fell $50,000 short of this year’s $140,000 goal.

“We’re still very thankful to have collected what we have,” Dorman said.

“This just means we’ll be even more careful in determining how much we can do for each person.”

The Empty Table Fund will continue to collect donations through the first week of January. To contribute to the fund, donations may be brought by the TimesDaily office at 219 W. Tennessee St. in Florence or mailed to P.O. Box 797, Florence, AL 35631.

The following individuals contributed to the fund this week: Bryon and Ann Hamilton, $100; Rachel Fraser, $50; Howard and Fran Murphy, $25; Martha H. Woodward, $100; Susan Roessel, $1,000; Lincoln C. and Margaret Johnson, $25; J.Howell, $50; anonymous, $100; Gail Overby, $100; Bob and Deanna Douthitt, $100; Terry Anderson, $1,000; Sue D. Thompson, $100; Mr. and Mrs. Phillip O. Street, $100; Billy and Wanda Isom, $100; Jay W. Klos, $500; Betty D. Smith, $50; Ray and Mary Cross, $200; Shoals Emergency Department Nurses, $200; Elizabeth W. Purnell, $25; anonymous, $1,000; Bill Smoak, $25; anonymous, $10; anonymous, $250; Ralton Stancil, $20; Bayless R. Thornton, Jr., $300.

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

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