Such disclosure is best recognized locally by a pair of longstanding holiday initiatives that are supported by news media outlets. This is a secret to none, nor should it be. Both are outstanding examples of outreach at a time when struggling families are most in need.
We speak of these:
1. The Community Christmas Party for Children which is given to families and youngsters in need thanks to an endearing partnership between The Empty Stocking Fund, Faith Memorial Church and WCLE Mix 104.1 Radio. And of course, the anchor in this alliance is the community.
2. The William Hall Rodgers Christmas Basket Fund which provides boxes filled with food staples to qualifying families. The Basket Fund is now a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and is operated exclusively by volunteers, many of whom represent the congregation at First Baptist Church. Because the Basket Fund is named after a former Cleveland Daily Banner editor who was known for his community service and philanthropy, it continues to receive our newspaper’s support each year. And again, its anchor is the community whose generous donors — just as they do The Empty Stocking Fund — support it every year as a family tradition.
Although these Christmas drives draw local media’s personal interest, they are by no means the only causes that get our support. In its entirety, the list is as long as it is diverse. It’s lengthy with good reason. Each is an unselfish cause, one that touches on a community need and most rely on the goodwill of Cleveland and Bradley County residents to succeed.
To get the word out, these campaigns need news media support. In this role, we serve as middleman, a connector of interests, if you will.
It is why the Cleveland Daily Banner supports our own William Hall Rodgers Basket Fund and why we work to help WCLE with The Empty Stocking Fund.
It is why WCLE supports the station’s Empty Stocking Fund and its recipient, the Community Christmas Party for Children, and why the station works to help our newspaper with the Rodgers Basket Fund.
It is a mutual respect for cause.
It is a shared cause for community.
Although we compete for news stories, advertising dollars and audience, we are two of a kind when it comes to the well-being of those who put the home in our hometown.
We want the best for our neighbors. We seek what’s right for our people.
Last week we gave editorial endorsement to our own Rodgers Basket Fund. Today, we do the same for The Empty Stocking Fund, the Community Christmas Party for Children and the slew of volunteers who make it possible each year.
The Empty Stocking Fund was founded in 1970 by Cleveland Mayor Tom and Sandra Rowland, and the late George R. (Bobby) Taylor. It enters its 42nd year. The Christmas Party for Children enters its 64th. It was founded by the late Rev. M.E. Littlefield in a modest, and humble, setting.
Today, its legacy lives on under the stewardship of Pastor David Riggs and his wife, Barbara, and the congregation at Faith Memorial Church, as well as through the staunch support of WCLE owner Steve Hartline, the grandson of the Rev. Littlefield.
Families wishing to register their children for this year’s massive party may do so Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Faith Memorial. Questions may be directed to 423-476-6281. This year’s party is set for Saturday, Dec. 22, in the spacious Paul Dana Walker Arena on the Lee University campus.
We urge continued community support for both fine campaigns — the William Hall Rodgers Christmas Basket Fund and The Empty Stocking Fund.
It is not a question of who listens to the radio and who reads the newspaper.
It is a matter of who chooses to step up for those most in need.
It is an ideal, one first voiced by humanitarians long ago as, “I am my brother’s keeper.”