PARKERSBURG - The Children's Home Society of West Virginia's Little Red Stocking fundraising campaign, a 200-year tradition, is under way for this holiday season.
The project kicked off the day after Thanksgiving and will run through Christmas Eve with all proceeds from the sale of the $1 red paper stockings going to fund programs and services provided to area children by the Children's Home Society. You donate a $1, write your name on the stocking and the business puts them up for display.
In 2010, the program raised $10,000 for this region, last year about $11,000 was raised, this year's goal is $15,000.
Photo by Pamela Brust
Carna Metheney-White, child and family services supervisor and local Little Red Stocking campaign coordinator with the Children’s Home Society of West Virginia, is shown with some of the stockings and a new red and white “I Help Children” wristband also available for a $1 donation at area Go-Marts this holiday season. Proceeds from the campaign are used to fund society programs.
The Children's Home Society is a private, nonprofit child welfare organization founded in 1896. Statewide, the agency served nearly 13,000 children annually.
"We became involved with the Red Stocking campaign locally about ten years ago. What is raised locally stays here, we serve Wood and all the surrounding counties," said Carna Metheney-White, child and family services supervisor for the local CHS and the coordinator for the local Red Stocking campaign.
Many local stores, shops, restaurants and other community businesses are participating in the campaign including area Go-Marts, which this year also volunteered to sell $1 red and white "I Help Children" bracelets in addition to the stockings. Other participants include: Foodland, Texas Roadhouse, Corner Cafe, Applebees which sold close to 10,000 stockings last year statewide, their goal this year is 15,000; Auntie Anns, Great Steak Grill, United Bank, Fifth Street Pub, Chams, Pifers, Peoples Bank, and United Bank.
Businesses interested in participating in the campaign can still sign up by calling Metheney-White at the Children's Home Society main headquarters at St. Marys Avenue, at 304-485-0650. Anyone who would like to donate, but doesn't want to participate by selling the stockings can also contact Metheney-White.
"It doesn't cost anything for a business to participate, it's just their employees asking if a customer would like to donate, that's all that's involved," Metheney-White said.
"The Red Stocking Campaign is probably our largest fundraiser. We are a nonprofit entity and we rely heavily on grants and fundraisers to keep the programs going. We couldn't provide the same services we do without these funds, they are an integral part of who we are and what we do," Metheney-White said.
In addition to being a major fund-raiser, the campaign also raises awareness about the West Virginia Children's Home Society and its services.
"Because of the Red Stocking campaign we've had people come forward and become foster and adoptive families. The campaign brings awareness of who we are and what we do," Metheney-White said.
The campaign dates back to the 1800s when school-aged children saved their pennies all year long and put them in socks. Just before Christmas they would take them to their local schools. Once the pennies were collected, the principal would take the coin-filled socks to a nearby orphanage in an effort to help children who were left without families. This heartfelt giving provided each child with a new coat, hat, gloves and one new troy. The children would wake up Christmas morning to find they had gifts under the tree and they had not been forgotten.
Children's Home Society services include adoption, shelter services, WECAN volunteer services, Right from the Start Program, home-based services, foster care, youth services, truancy diversion, day care, child advocacy center, Birth to Three Program, teen pregnancy and transitional living.