Saint John — Many were disappointed to learn this week that the Empty Stocking Fund, a local holiday staple for over 80 years, will be shutting down. Originally sponsored by radio broadcasters, the charity has been primarily sponsored by the Telegraph-Journal newspaper in recent years.
Since the paper was sold from Irving interests to Toronto-based conglomerate Postmedia back in February, the sponsorship will cease. But, the charity’s facilitators aren’t giving up yet.
“Well, we used to get funding from the Irvings, who are oil and gas people,” said Kimberly Ambrose, executive director of the charity. “We’re hoping that maybe we could pivot into another energy sector.”
The team went over all of the different options, dismissing them as they went. Solar power was out, since winter is the industry’s fallow period. Similarly, NB Power is not known for being reliable, especially when it snows. Finally, it was determined that the best course of action would be to lobby the local coal industry.
“You’ve got to remember that I’ve spent my career working with old children’s songs,” Ambrose said. “So I’ve heard many good things about Ol’ King Coal.”
While one can certainly appreciate the logic behind this, it’s hard to ignore the negative connotations that coal has traditionally had with empty stockings on Christmas.
“Sure. That’s fine — we can make the show a little, uh, ‘naughtier,’” she said, with a nervous giggle. “You don’t want to know the lengths I would to in order to get this thing running again.”