Scripps working to make sure everyone has a happy holiday

Knox News empty stocking

You’ve heard our mission, at Scripps we do well by doing good.  There is a lot of good going around this holiday season.

It’s the time of year that we take time to give thanks for what we have and put extra emphasis on making sure people in need don’t go without. At Scripps newspapers and television stations across the country, employees are giving their time, resources and talents to make sure their communities feel their positive impact.

This year, Knoxville News Sentinel celebrates what may be The E.W. Scripps Company’s longest-standing Christmas charity, the 100th anniversary of the Empty Stocking Fund.

empty stockingDan Tinsley, age 6 in 1912, is credited with making the first donation. The young man's nickel began the flow of enough money to provide food baskets for 250 East Tennessee families that year. A century later, the tradition not only continues; it thrives.

This year the fund will feed 3,600 families, approximately 10,000 people and provide 3,000 children with a new toy and book.  The entire operation is done through the Marketing Team and 1,000 plus volunteers each year.

“Our efforts would not be possible without the support of our community both through monetary donations and volunteering their time,” said Angie Howell, senior marketing manager at Knoxville News Sentinel.

Distribution week is held in December and 1,000+ volunteers prepare the food baskets, children's books and toys. 

“So may have come year after year to support our mission, bringing their family and friends,” said Howell. “As the needs in our community continue to be greater than ever we hope to continue our mission of serving the disadvantaged for another 100 years.”

Empty Stocking Fund recipients now receive a 12-pound turkey, fresh produce, canned goods, bread and stuffing mix, and enough staples -- 40 items in all -- to provide for Christmas dinner as well as other meals during the holiday season.

From the oldest to a recent addition, RTV6 in Indianapolis joined Scripps a year ago along with other former McGraw-Hill stations. 

circle of lightsWhile new to the Scripps family, RTV6 has been making a positive impact in the Indianapolis area for years.

For the past 21 years, they have been the media sponsor for the Circle of Lights Celebration in downtown Indianapolis.

Every year the monument is strung with lights to look like a Christmas tree.  There is always a special lighting of the tree on the Friday after Thanksgiving.  This year was the 50th Anniversary.

kevin gregoryAs the media partner RTV6 does a one hour live telecast of the tree lighting.  Kevin Gregory, chief meteorologist, hosts the show, which features musical acts from the Indianapolis area and an appearance from Santa Claus.  The musical acts are selected through an audition process conducted by Indianapolis Downtown, Inc.  RTV6 also broadcasts a special show on the auditions and announces the acts that will be performing.  The audition special airs on Thanksgiving night.

rtv toy driveRTV6 is also running its 12th annual toy drive. 

The RTV6 Toy Drive collects toys throughout the month of December for needy children in Central Indiana.  The sponsor, AAA Insurance, collects toys at their locations and various groups around the city hold their own collections for us.  Kevin Gregory, chief meteorologist, hosts vignettes that run throughout our newscasts and programming during the drive that feature groups that are donating toys. The toys are distributed through a referral process with area service agencies and schools. 

From vital necessities to making sure children in need are filled with joy and hope, here is detailed look at what our other Scripps newspapers and television stations are working on this season:

Kitsap Sun

kitsapKitsap Sun is conducting its 91st annual Kitsap Sun Bellringer campaign, a fundraising effort that directs 100% of reader donations to the area's nine food banks. 

Print and online ads promote the campaign from mid-November through early January as a vital means of re-stocking food bank shelves immediately following the holidays. 

Donations are often accompanied with brief tributes, often holiday greetings or memorials to loved ones, which are published in a print and online donor listing. 

The fund has risen more than $100,000 in each of the last three years. 

David Nelson, editor, Mike Stevens, marketing director, and Trent Covert, digital operations director are among those that make the program possible each year.

VC Star

The annual Ventura County Star Bellringer campaign starts on Thanksgiving, collecting donations from readers through Christmas and then forwarding them on to the Salvation Army to directly help local people in need.

Last year’s campaign netted $49,193 with the majority of the money raised coming from donations from individuals rather than from corporate giving.

The Star's Bellringer was created by the late Julius Gius, editor of the former Star-Free Press. He called on readers to help the needy after some shopping centers prohibited the Salvation Army from conducting its holiday kettle campaign. Gius wrote in a Nov. 19, 1979, column, "The Star-Free Press is going to be your 'Bellringer' for this one holiday season."

Many stores allowed the kettles to return, but The Star's Bellringer continued.

More than $1 million has since been raised for the local Salvation Army.


caller timesAbout 200 students in five Corpus Christi area school districts will have the chance to go on a shopping spree for new clothes and a toy they've always wanted for Christmas.

Sinton for Youth Inc. is one of seven agencies that relies on the Caller-Times Children's Christmas Appeal.

"We know they need basics like underwear and socks and they have a good time just picking those out," Coordinator Eileen Troup said.

She said every year she hears the same response from grateful children when they get to pick out their items: "Do I really get to keep this," they ask.

Since 1973, the Caller-Times has reported the plight of needy children during the holiday season. The names of those profiled are changed to protect the privacy of the families, who will be featured in the newspaper from Thanksgiving until Christmas Eve.

Nearly $3 million has been raised since the program began.

Last year's campaign collected $151,263 in donations that helped more than 2,400 area children. This year's goal is to raise $160,000, said Steve Arnold, vice president of marketing at Caller-Times and Children's Christmas Appeal campaign coordinator.

"Last year was a good year and we helped a lot of children," he said. "It's a better economy but there are still a lot of people that need help with just basic necessities that help them with their daily lives."

Independent Mail

bcf2012 is the 32nd year for the Independent Mail’s Brighter Christmas Fund. 

The Independent Mail runs a story in the newspaper every day beginning the weekend before Thanksgiving about a local family.  Those stories, all of which are anonymous, explain some of the hardships these families are facing.  These stories serve as a means to request donations from anyone in the community who would like to donate to help provide a Brighter Christmas for the families/children written about. 

All of the money donated goes into a fund to be used the next year.  (The funds raised in 2012 will be used in 2013.  Likewise, the funds raised in 2011 are being used now to serve as many families as possible in 2012.) 

In 2011, the fund helped 130 foster children who are in DSS custody and 275 families, spending an average of $149.57 per case.

 The Brighter Christmas Fund Board of Directors, made up of Susan Kelly-Gilbert, publisher at the Independent Mail, Susan Campbell, Administrative Assistant to the Publisher and CRO, a representative from the Foothills Community Foundation and several other community-minded citizens, meets on Wednesday mornings at the Independent Mail office to review 50 to 75 cases with representatives from DSS.  We consider the requests, and assign a dollar amount to each one.  DSS caseworkers notify the families involved and make arrangements to take them shopping for their Christmas treasures, allowing them to spend only the amount of money that was assigned to them. 

Kmart is one of the sponsors and provides a 10% discount on the total purchases made at its stores.

“None of the board members gets paid for this service,” said Campbell. “It’s a labor of love and touches your heart.  This experience truly makes you thankful for what you have.”

The Independent Mail also works with a local motorcycle club that holds a toy parade on the Sunday after Thanksgiving (rain or shine) to collect toys for needy children.

toy paradeThe 32nd Annual Anderson Toy Parade was held Saturday, Nov. 25. 

The price for participating in the parade is a new unwrapped toy for a child 10 years old or younger.  All of those toys are collected by the Confederates Motorcycle Club and given to an organization that distributes them.   

The motorcycle group also holds raffles; sell t-shirts, sweatshirts, food, etc., at the toy collection site.  All the money raised is given to the Brighter Christmas Fund.  In 2011, that amount was $12,250!

There are usually at least 2,000 motorcycles in this parade. 

“The volume of motorcycles and toys never ceases to amaze me,” said Campbell. ”There were two closed-body trucks of toys this year with many more in cars and vans to be delivered to the toy distribution site.”

Other groups also sponsor events that benefit the Brighter Christmas Fund.

Sea SlayFriends of Broadway Lake has a charity cardboard boat race every year.  For the past couple years, the Brighter Christmas Fund has been invited to participate in the “Charities” division.  This year, its boat, the Sea Slay, placed second and brought home a prize of $1,500 for the BCF. 

“We try to provide food and toys and clothes for children,” said Campbell. “Our sole intent is to help make one day brighter in the life of a child who, in most cases, never has a bright day at all.  We sometimes get thank you notes from parents after Christmas thanking us for our help. Those notes are most precious to us and are always shared with the board members.”

10News – KGTV and Azteca San Diego

10 newsThis year marks the 39th year 10News in San Diego has partnered with the Salvation Army for a toy drive

“We combine our efforts across all platforms on ABC10 and Azteca San Diego 15,” said Autumn Doermann-Rojas, creative sales marketing specialist.

Started by the late 10News weatherman “Captain” Mike Ambrose who understood the power of giving back, the ABC10 Toy Drive has helped collect millions of toys for deserving families across San Diego.


San Angelo Standard-Times

sa toys for totsThe San Angelo Standard-Times held its second annual Toys for Tots drive at the Standard-Times Nov. 1, 2012.

Marine Corps volunteers and Standard-Times associates manned the corners near the newspaper to collect new, unwrapped toys and cash for the children in the Concho Valley.

SA collectionsAll donations made in the Concho Valley are distributed in the Concho Valley. During the 2012 drive, we were able to raise more than $800 and three full boxes of new, unwrapped toys during the lunch hour in downtown San Angelo.

Sandy Rojas, multimedia journalist, coordinated the toy drive and she is also a Toys for Tots committee member.

The final drive for 2012 will be held Dec. 7 and Dec. 8.


kshbKSHB, Kansas City’s 41 Action News station and KMCI-TV, 38 the Spot, believes every child deserves to have a gift to open this holiday season.  That’s why they are once again partnering with Walmart for the 10th Annual “Santa Cause,” our toy drive benefiting the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots campaign.

It will collect toys Saturday, December 8th, 9 am – 3 pm at three Walmart locations. 

kshb41 Action News personalities will be at each location to sign autographs, take photographs and collect the toys. 

The toys will then be distributed by Two Men and a Truck to the Marine Corp’s Toys for Tots headquarters, where they will be organized and distributed throughout the Kansas City area.



wcpoWCPO is organizing the 2nd annual Holiday Toy Team 9 event, a multi-location toy drive on December 1 in partnership with Kroger stores.

Teams will be live at 6 Kroger locations from 6 a.m. - 1 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 1 with a live newscast dedicated to the toy drive from 8-9 a.m.

Four non-profit organizations benefit from the toy drive:  Child focus, Toys for Tots, Salvation Army and Brighton Center. 

Last year, WCPO collected nearly 4,000 toys.  The 2012 goal is 9,000 toys! 

New this year is a partnership with Cumulus Radio. Personalities from radio stations will be paired with WCPO's news talent at each location.  Competition is already revving up to see which location will collect the most toys. 

Treasure Coast

Treasure Coast Newspapers have collected toys for the Missing Children's Alert Program's "Toys for Kids" for over 10 years now. 

They run ads promoting the toy drive and have collection boxes at each of their locations from the beginning of November until a week before Christmas. 

All of the toys collected remain in the county in which they were donated.  This organization also concentrates on donating the toys to children who have "fallen through the cracks" of government organizations by utilizing lists provided by local law enforcement, local children's homes and religious institutions. 

They usually end up with a total of more than 2,000 toys collected across the Treasure Coast. 


abc15There is truly an excitement in the air as the holiday season begins. 

ABC15 is proud to once again partner with Sanderson Ford to be part of the annual Operation Santa Claus Charity Drive.  The first 10 years have resulted in a record number of donations for Valley children’s charities with over 50,000 donations to date.  This year’s charities are MAM(Military Assistance Mission), Phoenix Children's Hospital, SARRC (Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center) and St. Mary's Food Bank. 

To help with the cause ABC15 asks for new unwrapped toys, children’s clothing items, packaged food or a monetary donation. 

abc15Operation Santa runs through December 20 and with each accepted donation there is an opportunity to be one of 15 finalists to win their choice of a new Ford F-150 Super Crew Ecoboost or the all-new 2013 Lincoln MKZ. 

ABC15 will also have a series of activities throughout the next several weeks for Operation Santa Claus, including the annual “Claus-a-thon” on December 5. 

It’s a mega-day for the charity, where ABC15 and our partners crisscross the Valley to encourage donations.  The Claus-a-thon will culminate as ABC15 anchors challenge each other to see who can raise the most donations on live TV. 

They also will host a phone bank that day.

madiABC15 has also “adopted” Madi Magoo this year.

Madison “Madi” who was recently diagnosed with stage III higher risk neuroblastoma and spends all her time at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.  Madi is only 7 years old and has such a large tumor in her stomach that it caused one of her lungs to collapse.  Because the tumor is so large, it is puncturing her heart and that in turn is causing internal bleeding – so she has a tube for drainage.  On top of this problem continues going through her cancer treatment.   Madi lost her dad in a motorcycle accident, her mom drives from Gilbert to PCH every day and her 9 year old brother is in school. 

ABC15 has adopted this family in need and we are all working together to fulfill their family “wish” list.  To find out more, “like” her page on Facebook.