By Tia Lynn Ivey
Christmas is just around the corner and one local law enforcement agency is doubling as Santa’s helpers this season to “fill stockings” with new toys for boys and girls in Morgan County.
The Morgan County Sheriff’s Office is conducting their annual Empty Stocking Fund, but this year will be a little different due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The Sheriff’s Office will not be accepting toy donations this year, and instead is asking for monetary donations only.
The Morgan County’s Sheriff Office will then purchase toys with the financial donations to distribute to needy families for Christmas.
“It benefits many children and needy families,” said Olivia Laborn, administrative assistant to the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office, who has participated in the Empty Stocking Fund for nearly 20 years. “We don’t just give one gift, we usually fill children’s entire wish-lists full most years. It just depends on how many donations we receive,” said Olivia Laborn.
The Empty Stocking Fund has become a valued tradition for the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office, beginning over 20 years ago under the previous sheriff and carried on by Sheriff Robert Markley when he was elected in 2001.
“It’s a valuable program that helps fill the gap during the holiday season. It helps parents give a good Christmas who might not have a good Christmas,” said Markley last year.
Markley said every year the flood of donations from church groups, industry and individuals keep the program alive. “The community has been very generous to the program and has supported it throughout the years.”
For Markley, the Empty Stocking Fund has become a tradition he will continue as long as he is in office. “This feels like its a part of Christmas,” he said.
“This is the way Christmas is supposed to be.”
For more information on how to donate, contact the Sheriff’s Office at 706-342-1507.
“It’s out of the kindness of the sheriff’s heart and of the hearts of Morgan County citizens that we are able to do this. We will gladly continue to do this every year as long as we have the community’s help,” said Laborn.