Still time to help needy York County families through the Sleigh Bell Network

Staff reportsDecember 20, 2012 

The gifts are heading out the door to needy families across York County, but it’s not too late to make a difference.

The need remains great, and the participating agencies of the Sleigh Bell Network are still accepting donations of toys, gifts and money to plug some last-minute holes in the Christmas safety net.

“It’s important to have cash donations so we can make targeted donations to meet family requests, especially for older children,” said Debbie Hayworth, president of the United Way of York County, heading out the door Thursday afternoon to shop for more gifts.

“We just want to make sure we have fulfilled the needs of the families, based on the ages of the children.”

There are still needs for personal items for older girls (fingernail polish, hats, gloves, scarves) and older boys (socks, hats, gloves), Hayworth said.

“Toys are always good; they give us an early start on next year,” she said. “But we’ve still got some gaps to fill this year.”

Distribution to families started Thursday and wraps up today.

Monetary donations to The Herald’s Empty Stocking Fund, a member of the Sleigh Bell Network, are still needed, Herald president and publisher Debbie Abels said.

“It’s not too late to help,” Abels said. “The Empty Stocking Fund uses monetary contributions to round out toy contributions so there is a selection for both boys and girls in all age groups.

“The Empty Stocking Fund also provides a box of food to the child’s family.”

The Sleigh Bell Network also includes Toys for Happiness, Toys for Tots, The Salvation Army and Second Harvest Food Bank.

The United Way of York County coordinates the annual efforts of those groups by maintaining a database of families in need, with the goal of making sure services are not duplicated for an applicant.

More than 3,400 children received gifts through the Sleigh Bell Network’s effort last year.

Want to help?

Donate new, unwrapped toys at:

United Way of York County office, 226 Northpark Drive, Suite 100, Rock Hill

All York County YMCA branches in Clover, Fort Mill, Rock Hill and York

WRHI/Interstate 107 radio studios, 142 N. Confederate Ave., Rock Hill

Donate money, skip the shopping:

Make a tax-deductible contribution online at

Checks – made out to The Herald’s “Empty Stocking Fund” or “Toys for Happiness” – can be mailed to the United Way of York County S.C., P.O. Box 925, Rock Hill, SC, 29731.

Drop off monetary contributions at the United Way office, 226 Northpark Drive, Suite 100, Rock Hill, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

More information

Call 803-324-2735

2012 Empty Stocking Fund donors

The Herald thanks the following members of our community for their generous contributions to the Empty Stocking Fund:

Chester, Virginia, Linda & Audra Miller of Rock Hill

Regina B. Clawson of McConnells, a donation for each victim at Sandy Hook Elementary School

Raymond Espey of Fort Mill

Ken & Juli Gasque of Rock Hill

Pak’s Tae Kwon Do of Rock Hill

W.C. Kirkpatrick of Rock Hill

Mrs. Dale W. Scott of Fort Mill

Mrs. Sarah Ridgeway of Rock Hill

Pat Swicegood of Rock Hill

John & Vickie Dasti of Rock Hill

Doug Stokes of Rock Hill

Georgia Freeman of Rock Hill

Debbie Abels, in honor of Jennifer Becknell,Victor Fields, Bonny Frain, Jim Lamm, Paul Osmundson, Mary Pettus, Michelle Reid, Letitia Smith & Sonya Van Sickle

Frank Knox of Rock Hill

Gary & Wanda Miller of Rock Hill

Ray & Cindy Eaton of Rock Hill

Buddy & Margaret McCarter of Rock Hill

Makenna Kull & family of Rock Hill

Edith & Heinz Blessing of Tega Cay

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