Originally created 07/12/97

Empty Stocking Fund gets early gift



It's only July, but those may be jingle bells in the distance.

Five months before Christmas, an Augusta company has already made a donation of thousands of dollars to The Augusta Chronicle Empty Stocking Fund, a 67-year tradition that helps provide toys, clothes, food and other holiday items for needy families.

Amoco Polymers Inc. donated the proceeds from the company's annual invitational golf tournament, putting $2,271.25 in the fund's coffers. The money was raised with entry fees and by selling vendor logo signs, as well as by selling mulligans and other items that could help each corporate team better its score, a spokesman said.

"We looked at a lot of charities, and we knew that with the Empty Stocking Fund, all the money goes directly to the families," Chairman T.W. Gadziemski said. "That was the most important thing."

The golf tournament, held in May at Edgefield's Pine Ridge Country Club, attracted 20 vendor-sponsored teams for a tournament of four-player Lauderdale.

The contribution to the Empty Stocking Fund is the first this year. Fund-raising usually begins at Thanksgiving and lasts through the end of the year.

In 1996, area individuals and businesses donated $77,029.91, a record-breaking amount that allowed the newspaper to help 6,851 people in 1,129 families. The previous record stood at $73,436 for the Christmas season of 1992.