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Every day, on these very pages, we share stories of those living among us in the community. We tell stories about the worst and the best.

We share news of house fires and evictions that leave families homeless, as well as stories of senseless shootings or addictions that have left children without a parent.

But also on these very pages, we tell stories about the very best among us, those who give back to the community donating their time and resources to help.

Every year, when we do our annual appeal for Toys for Tots and hear back from the community, it’s a reminder of what great people live here in Racine County.

The stories of children in need are heartbreaking. While we cannot change what has happened to them, we can help make this Christmas better for them.

Today, inside your paper, you will find an Empty Stocking Club envelope to help you donate to the Tex Reynolds Toys for Tots program.

Envelopes will also be inside your paper on Dec. 12.

The Toys for Tots tradition dates back to 1929, when a group of Racine Boy Scouts decided to do a good deed for the holiday with the simple goal of making sure no boy or girl awoke on Christmas morning without finding at least one gift under the tree.

That has been the heart of the tradition to this day. The Scouts’ good deed grew over time and their cause was taken up by the Good Fellers, a group of civic-minded people who coordinated the operation and began an annual drive — the Empty Stocking Club — to raise donations to sustain it.

For many years, the Toys for Tots effort was headed up by longtime Journal Times columnist Tex Reynolds, then for more than 30 years by former Journal Times Circulation Director Don Karkow.

Former Caledonia Fire Chief Pete Waselchuk now oversees Toys for Tots, coordinating the year-round collection of new and gently used toys, dolls, bikes, game boards and hundreds of other items, and supervising the volunteers who repair and package the donated toys until they’re fit for distribution.

This is where you come in.

Throughout the past 80-plus years, Toys for Tots has been supported by the generous contributions of Journal Times readers to the Empty Stocking Club.

The Journal Times will publish the names of donors as the Empty Stocking Club list grows; you also may choose to make your donation anonymously.

Thank you for your support over the years, and thank you again for taking the time to consider a donation.

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