In 2020, Mount Carmel Veterans Service Center (Mt. Carmel) was excited to begin partnering with the Empty Stocking Fund as their Veteran’s service organization of choice. Mt. Carmel’s league of 140 volunteers was able to help 12,000 Veterans, Military members, and their families in 2022 with housing, legal aid, educational assistance, basic counseling, financial counseling, behavioral counseling, and more. “There is so much goodwill toward the military [in the Pikes Peak Region], but navigating the resources can be a challenge, Executive Director of Mt. Carmel, Bob McLaughlin, said. “That’s where we come in because there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach.”
The Empty Stocking Fund, established in 1984 by The Gazette, started to fill empty stockings with toys, clothing, and other items for families in need during the holiday season. They raised over $40,000 in cash and goods to assist 27 families during that first year. Ten years later, the campaign shifted to a community fundraiser for nonprofits in the Pikes Peak Region. Now, the Empty Stocking Fund provides funding to 20 local health and human service agencies in El Paso and Teller Counties on the front lines of helping people in crisis and assisting others in attaining self-sufficiency – including Mt. Carmel.
In 2021, Empty Stocking Fund exceeded its goal of raising more than the previous year with a record-breaking of more than $1.7 million. The Empty Stocking Fund team hopes to raise even more during the 2022-2023 campaign season to meet the growing demand for services in our community – a portion of which will be funding Mt. Carmel services. Mt. Carmel assists Veterans, Military Members, and their families and sponsors welcome home ceremonies, retirement services, free dentistry days, family picnics, and memorials, among many other events.
Mt. Carmel would like to thank The Empty Stocking Fund for their partnership and ongoing support of Veterans, Military members, and their families in the Pikes Peak Region. The focus at Mt. Carmel remains making the lives of our Veterans and those who serve. “We’re unique in that we provide a variety of services, but more than that, it’s making sure those we work with know somebody cares,” McLaughlin said.