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Strong support shown at Empty Stocking talent program

I've been in Wadena for seven months now, but I delight in the fact that I'm still learning about the traditions of our tight-knit community. Wednesday night's 86th Empty Stocking Talent Show is a prime example.

The Empty Stocking program was among the first subjects presented to me when I arrived at the Pioneer Journal. I even remember being shown the special room in our office that is used for storing supplies for the yearly program.

As time has gone on, I have become more and more impressed with efforts behind Empty Stocking. Wednesday night's talent show raised more than $9,600 to provide Christmas items to area families in need.

But what is even more impressive than the numbers is the support from folks who make Empty Stocking the experience it is. Pioneer Journal employees, local groups and private community members have all pulled together with kindness, hard work and giving hearts to help those in need. The volunteers, donations and time that go along with Empty Stocking certainly stand out.

The spirit of the holiday season is truly amplified by the people who organize this program. Being the new guy in Empty Stocking efforts, I was fortunate to be among such caring individuals.

And the talent show itself was an amazing event to attend. Pioneer Journal staff could be seen receiving phone calls from donors, serving treats and updating donation dollar amounts at this year's talent show, which took place in the commons of the Wadena-Deer Creek Middle/High School. Nearby, community patrons could be seen sitting back and enjoying cheerful musical talent, which was announced live via Wadena's KWAD radio. I was able to see all this as I handed out flyers at the entrance, and it was exactly what the holiday spirit should look like.

Of course, Empty Stocking is just one of the many ways our community shows care for those in need. The people who live here can be proud of their outstanding ability to repeatedly lend a helping hand to those who could use one.

And with Empty Stocking still in full swing, it will be exciting to watch as more volunteers step up to keep the program strong this season. Those who are interested in helping out are always welcome, and can get more information by visiting the Pioneer Journal.

The season of giving is upon us. Thanks to the kindness shown in programs like Empty Stocking, all can certainly be joyful as the holidays draw near.