Empty Stocking Appeal inspired by a poem

HISTORIC: Poem 'The Empty Stocking' that appeared in The Examiner on December 21, 1908 along with the article 'A Christmas Call' appealing for donations.
HISTORIC: Poem 'The Empty Stocking' that appeared in The Examiner on December 21, 1908 along with the article 'A Christmas Call' appealing for donations.

The Examiner’s Empty Stocking Appeal has been helping to spread Christmas cheer for more than a century.

But did you know part of its inspiration lies in a poem? 

Now in its 109th year, diving deep into the paper’s records one of the earliest found references to the appeal appeared in The Examiner’s December 21 edition, all the way back in 1908.

Titled ‘A Christmas Call’, the article puts an appeal out to the community for donations of clothes to be distributed among the poor as well as cash donations “to be devoted to brightening dull homes for the coming festive season”. 

Referencing a poem entitled The Empty Stocking, the article described the desire to bring some joy into the homes of those most in need.

“This picture and accompanying lines are an appeal of themselves; they speak eloquently enough,” the article reads. 

“We are hopeful that they will strike a responsive chord and that those who are able to help in the matter will do so.”

The article goes on to explain that any funds raised will be distributed evenly between the Benevolant Society and City Mission, without interfering with the other established charitable organisations. 

“It is not our desire to interfere with any other established channel of Christmas help for those who are in distress,” it reads. 

“But there are many homes that our charitable agencies cannot brighten as they would like at this season of the year.

“We want, therefore, to extend not interfere with, the good work they are doing.

“This is our appeal and we leave it in the hands of Examiner readers.”

This year The Empty Stocking Appeal aims to raise $60,000 by December 25, which equates to about $2000 a day since the appeals launch in November. 

Each and every dollar raised will be split evenly between four local charities, the St Vincent de Paul Society, the Launceston Benevolent Society, City Mission and the Salvation Army.

The Examiner has already received some incredible donations and with just three weeks until Christmas, the running total currently stands at $13,191.40.