Our History

 

Who We Are

The Empty Stocking Fund is one of the oldest newspaper-sponsored charities in Canada, it all began in 1912… We take great pride in what the Empty Stocking Fund stands for, the mission has remained unchanged – to raise funds to ensure that all children in Saint John and the surrounding area have a joyful holiday season.

Harry “Dutch” Ervin

The Empty Stocking Fund came from a humble beginning back in 1912

The story goes like this: it was a few nights before Christmas when a reporter for the old Saint John Evening Standard (now the Telegraph Journal) — Harry (Dutch) Ervin – saw two poor children looking at a department store’s toy display from the street. When he returned to the newsroom, he passed the hat and collected $30 to buy Christmas gifts for Saint John’s needy children. Soon, word spread of Harry’s crusade and by Christmas Eve, the pot had grown to $700.

In a 1937 newspaper article, he stated: “I never believed, nor even dreamed, there was such poverty. In one cold house, the children were so starving that they grabbed the oranges and ate them, skins and all, before we could stop them.” Today, the Telegraph-Journal’s Empty Stocking Fund is one of the oldest newspaper-sponsored Christmas appeals in Canada. We take great pride in what the Empty Stocking Fund stands for, and appreciate the outstanding support from all our amazing community partners.

The Empty Stocking Fund continues to have its annual telethon which features children from our community singing carols in hopes of raising funds for the less fortunate in the Saint John area.

Timeline

Of the Empty Stocking Fund

Source: Jacob Duff the great-great-grandson of Harry “Dutch” Ervin”.

Interview with Mr Dean

Organizer of the Empty Stocking Fund for 42 years

Source: Jacob Duff the great-great-grandson of Harry “Dutch” Ervin”.

Interview with Mr Hazel

Former Chairperson of the Empty Stocking Fund

Source: Jacob Duff the great-great-grandson of Harry “Dutch” Ervin”.