The Valley Empty Stocking Fund has changed the way it identifies families seeking assistance this holiday season.

The fund, which the Lions Club and American Legion created in 1973, provides grocery and department store vouchers to families living in the Horse Creek Valley area. But, this year due to decreased donations, there will be no open application sessions as there have been in previous years.

“We just don’t have the funds this year,” said organizer Mary Lee Opalewski. “We’re just not taking open applications in Burnettown.”

Instead, the Valley Empty Stocking Fund have asked teachers in Area 3 schools to provide a list of families they know are in need.

“We will go to each school and take their applications,” Opalewski said. “Your family’s name has to be chosen by the school. We will contact you on a time to come to the school to register. We hope this doesn’t cause hardship on any family. We have always tried to help as many as we could, but due to changing times, we feel this is the best way to reach needy families.”

Last year, the Valley Empty Stocking Fund aided 169 families with vouchers to Kmart for toys for children and vouchers to Reid’s for food.

Families eligible to receive vouchers from the fund must have children who attend Area 3 schools: Midland Valley High School, Langley-Bath-Clearwater Middle School, Leavelle-McCampbell Middle School, Gloverville Elementary School, Clearwater Elementary School, Jefferson Elementary School, Byrd Elementary School or Warrenville Elementary School.

The Valley Empty Stocking Fund runs entirely on donations, and there is no deadline for giving.

Contributions may be sent to Valley Empty Stocking Fund, P.O. Box 517, Langley, S.C. 29834.

For more information, call coordinator Mary Lee Opalewski at 593-2337.