Almost 500 area children received a merrier Christmas last Thursday thanks to the efforts of the Southeast Kentucky Empty Stocking Fund.
Joe Caldwell, who has worked to organize the event for 30 years, said 474 children participated in the 2017 edition held at The Corbin Center.
“I have been doing this for 30 years and after another 30 years, I may be ready to step down,” Caldwell said of the program that began as a Rotary Club service project.
Caldwell said that number was down slighting from 2016.
Donations to the program from area individuals, businesses and organizations, were used to purchase gifts for each child along with a new pair of shoes.
In addition, parents could choose from a selection of books.
New this year, organizers had secured a number of classic board games including: “Monopoly,” “Clue,” “The Game of Life,” “Operation,” “Connect Four,” and others.
Each child was able to select one of the games.
Participants were treated to a movie courtesy of Tri-County Cineplex and lunch courtesy of Pizza and Company.
Caldwell thanked all of those who donated money and/or time to help make the event a success and asked others to let them know how much it is appreciated.
“Tell those people that you thank them for giving. They will appreciate that,” Caldwell said.